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M.A., PH.D. 





THIS book is a study rather than a history of British 
Neo-Hegelianism. A strictly historical treatment of a 
movement, represented mostly by contemporary writers 
who have influenced each other, does not seem to me 
to be possible. Nevertheless, it will not, I trust, be 
found to be quite unlike a work on the history of 

I do not know whether Neo-Hegelianism is the right 
name to give to the movement. But as it has become 
current, it is useless to quarrel with it. What must not 
b^ forgotten, however, is that the writers who may be 
said to belong to this school are in no sense disciples 
of Hegel. They have, no doubt, been strongly in- 
fluenced by him, but each of them is a very independent 
thinker who has his own distinctive way of appre- 
hending and expressing the central truths of idealism. 

The idea of writing this book was suggested to me 
by the following sentence in Professor J. W. Scott's 
article on Neo-Hegelianism in Hastings's Encyclopaedia 
of Religion and Ethics: "Until some adequate history 
of the movement appears the only way to get a grasp 
of what it had to teach is to read a few works of typical 
representatives of it." I have tried to give a fairly full 
and accurate account of the movement, but how far I 
have succeeded I df> not know. 



Whatever may be the measure of my success, the 
task has been congenial to me. For such philosophical 
ideas as I have, I am indebted to no system of thought 
more than to Neo-Hegelianism, except Hegel himself. 
The study and interpretation of Hegel and the philo- 
sophical movement which has arisen from his influence 
has been the chief occupation of my life. At the very 
commencement of my career as a teacher of philosophy 
36 years ago, I wrote a little book (now out of print) 
with a view to give the student a general idea of the 
main principles of Neo-Hegelianism. It was well 
spoken of by such authorities as Hutchison Stirling 
and Edward Caird. And now when that career is 
drawing to a close, I feel happy to be able to offer to 
those who are interested in philosophy this account of 
what I regard, in the English-speaking world at least, 
as the greatest movement of thought in modern times. 
If it helps in any measure to popularise doctrines which 
ought t,qj}e*more ^widely known, I shall consider myself 
ampl^ewarded. - 

I have not attempted to expound the logical theories 
of Bradley and Bosanquet. Within such limits as must 
be observed in a work like this, I found it impossible 
adequately to interpret highly technical discussions. It 
could be done only in a book mainly devoted to logic 
and not in a general study such as this. Rather than 
give a meagre and superficial exposition, I have given 
none. I have remembered Hegel's dictum that if a 
man is to achieve anything he must set a limit to 

I reprint, as an appendix to this book, an essay 
entitled Hegelianism and Human Personality , written 
in 1910 and published by the Calcutta University. In 
it I have tried to show] that, according to Hegel, the 



Absolute is not a unitary self, but a self-conscious unity 
of many selves. I know very well that Hegel has been 
interpreted in so many different ways that it is im- 
possible to be unduly confident of the truth of any 
particular interpretation. All that I claim is that there 
is as much to be said in favour of my interpretation 
as for any other. I briefly restated the argument of 
this essay in an article on " Leibnitz and German 
Philosophy " in the Philosophical Review for July, 






II. T. H. GREEN, 17 

JII. EDWARD CAIRD, ----- 75 

IV. JOHN CAIRD, ------ 135 

V. WILLIAM WALLACE, - - - - 1 66 

VI. D. G. RITCHIE, 188 

VII. F. H. BRADLEY, 214 




X. SIR HENRY JONES, ----- 330 



XIII. LORD HALDANE, - - - - 391 


HEGEL, - - - - - -415 


INDEX, 487 



THE conflict between science and religion, between the 
instinctively religious view of the world of which the 
human mind cannot easily divest itself and the tendency 
to explain all things by means of mechanical principles 
arising from the scientific spirit, is perhaps more char- 
acteristic of the second half of the nineteenth century 
than of any other period. Ideas and beliefs which 
could be entertained before the triumphs of science 
were achieved were no longer possible after them. In 
an unscientific age it is easy to discern the finger of 
Providence everywhere, but when the mind becomes 
accustomed to the idea of the uniform and inviolable 
course of nature, to the belief that nothing can happen 
of which some definitely computable cause cannot be 
discovered, it is hard to understand how any such 
thing as the divine control and guidance of the world 
is to be possible. To the extent to which the scientific 
ideal of finding the reign of law in the universe is 
attained, the possibility of interpreting it in accordance 
with the demand of the religious spirit would seem 
to vanish. If all things are subject to unvarying laws, 
if nothing can happen without a cause, the introduc- 
tion of any incalculable element into the course of the 

H.N.-H. A 


world which God's intervention must mean appear? to 
be impossible. No wonder then that the age which 
witnessed the marvellous progress of science was also 
deeply troubled by the difficulty of reconciling science 
with religion. Loyalty to science seemed to be incom- 
patible with the acceptance of the orthodox ideas about 
religion. The most enlightened minds of the age, 
therefore, found it increasingly difficult to retain the 
traditional dogmas of Christianity. Their hold on the 
educated mind was inevitably loosened. It is not that 
there was any open and widespread movement against 
established religious ideas; but more and more the 
world of culture was alienated from them. Indiffer- 
ence rather than active hostility to orthodox notions 
was the general attitude among men influenced by 
science. But though the doctrines of the Churches 
were not acceptable, the spirit of the time was by no 
means irreligious. On the contrary the need of a 
spiritualistic interpretation of the world, as the best 
poetry of the age unmistakably indicates, was acutely 
felt. The religious instincts of the mind are not easily 
uprooted. It is not ordinarily possible for man to 
remain satisfied with a purely secular view of the world. 
If the head demands satisfaction, the heart too has its 
claims which are not less insistent. And between the 
head and the heart there can be no permanent breach. 
An adequate theory of the universe must com- 
mend itself to the whole mind and not merely to the 
abstract intellect. It must fulfil the requirements of 
the scientific spirit as well as of the religious tendency. 
The great problem of the Victorian age, therefore, 
was to find a method by following which it is possible 
to reconcile science with religion, to be loyal to the 
discoveries of the secrets of natufe made after patient 


research without sacrificing the highest interests of 
humanity. The traditional philosophies of Great 
Britain, empiricism and intuitionism, were hopelessly 
inadequate to meet this requirement. The schools of 
Hamilton and Mill wrangled over questions which had 
very little to do with the need of finding a theory of 
the universe, which should at once be scientifically 
tenable and religiously satisfying. Whether certain 
beliefs and notions of the mind are of empirical origin 
or underived is a question upon the answer to which 
the solution of the problem of reconciling science with 
religion in no way depends. The validity of a principle 
is not determined by its origin. In whatever way the 
issue between intuitionism and empiricism may be 
decided, the task of philosophy has still to begin. It 
is therefore not surprising that the deeper minds of 
the age failed to find satisfaction in the current philo- 
sophy of the day. What was needed was a system 
of thought which should at least make an honest 
effort to comprehend the true nature of the universe 
we live in, to justify the standpoint of religion without 
neglecting the conclusions of science. To precisely 
such a system, just when it was most likely to be 
helpful, the attention of some of the profoundest 
students of philosophy of the time in Great Britain 
was drawn, and the foremost of them was James 
Hutchison Stirling. It was the system of Hegel. 
When Stirling's great book was published, Hegel was 
a mere name in England. Then, as now, he, of course, 
was amply refuted, but of real knowledge of him 
there was very little. The only thinker who possessed 
some inkling of what Hegel had to teach, straight- 
forwardly confessed his inability to fathom his depth. 
" Who has ever yet>" asks Ferrier, " uttered one Intel- 


ligible word about Hegel? Not any of his country- 
men not any foreigner seldom even himself. With 
peaks here and there more lucent than the sun, his 
intervals are filled with a sea of darkness, unnavigable 
by the aid of any compass, and an atmosphere in which 
no human intellect can breathe. Hegel is impenetrable, 
almost throughout, as a mountain of adamant " That 
Ferrier's statement is not exaggerated will be evident 
from the queer notions of Hegel's philosophy which 
even the greatest intellects of the time entertained. 
Hegel, says J. S. Mill, affirms that " c contradictory 
propositions cannot both be true ' does not apply to 
the Absolute " and " by this among other things has 
fairly earned the honour which will probably be 
awarded to him by posterity, of having logically 
extinguished transcendental metaphysics by a series 
of reductiones ad absurdissimum " (Examination of 
Hamilton's Philosophy, p. 60). No wonder then that Mill 
refused to support Stirling's candidature for the Chair 
of Moral Philosophy in Edinburgh University in if? 68 
on the ground that "he did not think that the study 
of Hegel would have a salutary effect on the immature 
minds of university students." Sir William Hamilton, 
who enjoyed the reputation of possessing expert know- 
ledge of German philosophy, speaks of Schelling, Hegel 
and Cousin as the most illustrious representatives of 
the doctrine that "mind and matter are only pheno- 
menal manifestations of the same common substance." 
Mansel, another authority of the day on German 
philosophy, tells us that " thought in the system of 
Hegel is represented as an impersonal, absolute, in- 
determinate, universal, unconscious substance determin- 
ing itself in opposed and yet identical modifications, 
becoming all things, constituting the essence of all 


things, and attaining to consciousness only in man " 
(Metaphysics, p. 312). This philosophy, we are assured, 
" instead of commencing with God as the beginning 
of all existence, commences with Zero," and the dia- 
lectical process " may thus be described as a creation 
of the deity no less than of the world" (Ibid. p. 315). 

Such rvac the situation when Stirling's Secret of 
Hegel was published more than sixty years ago. It 
was without question an epoch-making work. For the 
first time the real meaning of Hegel was set forth by 
a British thinker in clear and forcible language. The 
unintelligible was at last made intelligible, the sea of 
darkness was successfully navigated. The accomplish- 
ment of so stupendous a task without the help of 
anyone else necessarily involved a prodigious amount 
of labour. " No one since his time," says Lord Hal- 
dane, " has got further, possibly no one so far. He 
penetrated into the inmost essence of the Hegelian 
system as none but a man of genius could have done, 
and his work remains unrivalled to this day. His 
exposition is charged with meaning and his flow is 
that of a torrent. . . . Through long years of study 
he mastered the meaning of that most difficult and 
most rewarding of modern writers on philosophy. At 
the end the result he had reached was returned in a 
torrent, in language the force and picturesqueness of 
which were only matched by the conviction every 
sentence breathed forth. The book embodies a result 
which is likely to be enduring. It will hardly be 
superseded, for it has the quality of genius. Along 
the road it has travelled one cannot get any further" 
(Preface to James Hutchison Stirling, His Life and 
Work, pp. v, vi). 

In the brilliantly ' written preface to the Secret of 


Hegel y Stirling sets forth the grounds of his conviction 
that the Hegelian philosophy is of supreme value and 
its study indispensable, if further progress of philo- 
sophical thought is to be possible. The modern en- 
lightened mind does not find it easy to reconcile the 
traditional dogmas of religion with reason. This is 
largely due to the failure to distinguisL between the 
outer symbol and the inner meaning, the mere letter 
and the informing spirit. Attack as well as defence 
of the figurate conceptions in which spiritual truths 
are embodied is futile. What is necessary is to com- 
prehend the inner meaning of symbols and metaphors, 
to reduce Vorstellungen to Begriffe. To have done 
this is the merit of Hegel. He has nothing but con- 
tempt for men who quarrel about the husk and fail to 
perceive the kernel. Picture thinking is indispensable 
to the bulk of mankind, but the business of the philo- 
sopher is to bring out the thought which underlies 
outward forms. 

Another achievement of Hegel is that he substitutes 
concrete thinking for the abstractions of the under- 
stan3mgT~To separate things from each other, to 
suppose that each entity is real by itself and has no 
necessary connection with others, is the inveterate habit 
of the unreflecting mind. Hegel carries his readers to 
a higher level of thought and shows that reality is 
ultimately a sjnffl^ coherent and all-inclusive system 
particular objects are merely elements. It is 
implying each other as integral factors 

of this system that things have being. Isolated, self- 
s^ifficci but false aSstiict 

^ but false aSstiictions, 

empty illusions arising from poverty of thougfi^ It 
is the plain man innocent of philosophy and not Hegel 
that lives in an unreal world of abstractions. 


Nothing, Stirling urges, is further from the truth 
than the supposition that Hegel is a vain dreamer who 
has no concern with experience, but evolves from his 
inner consciousness a theory of the universe bearing 
no relation to actual facts. From the beginning to the 
end he deals solely with the world of experience, the 
world in* which we live and of which we form a part; 
only that he is not satisfied with the first appearance 
of things, but insists upon grasping their ultimate 
meaning. It will not do, he teaches, to fix attention 
upon this or that aspect of experience and to base a 
theory upon it. What is necessary is a careful analysis 
of reality with a view to find out the various aspects 
of it and to comprehend the relations in which they 
stand to each other and to the whole. The feet of 
Hegel are all along planted on the solid ground of 
experience. His single aim is to understand thoroughly 
the nature of what actually is and to avoid all one-sided 
interpretations of it. 

Stirling lays stress upon the significance of Hegelian- 
ism as a constructive system. The right of private 
judgment is the principle on which modern civilisation 
takes its stand. No true child of the present age 
can acknowledge the validity of customs, usages and 
institutions upon which reason does not set its seal 
of approval. Everything, it is demanded, must be 
examined in the light of reason, and what does not 
satisfy reason must be rejected outright. Appeal to 
mere authority has no validity in the court of reason. 
The judgment of the individual is the supreme criterion, 
and the value of all things, secular as well as religious, 
must be determined by it. Hegel does not deny this.. 
He is unshaken in his loyalty to the right of private 
judgment. The only question is, what exactly this 


means. Now, the error of rationalism lies in its using 
the principle in a one-sided manner. "Of the two 
words private judgment," as Stirling puts it, " the 
Auf klarung accentuates and sees only the former. The 
Aufklarung asks only that the private man, the indi- 
vidual, be satisfied. Its principle is subjectivity pure 
and simple. But its own words imply more than sub- 
jectivity its own words imply objectivity as well; for 
the accent on private ought not to have blinded it to 
the fact that there is equally question of judgment" 
(Secret of Hegel, new edition, p. liv). Rason 1 _as 
Hegel shows, is not the priva.tejroperty of the indi- 
vidual; it is uni versa! ~an5~objcctive, and is embodied 
inthe institutions ^nd systems of thought which regu- 
late our conduct. In insisting on the paramountcy of 
reason, rationalism is not wrong; its mistake is to oppose 
the subjective to the objective, the individual to the 
community, apart from which he is nothing. It is only 
in so far as the individual shares in the common reason 
of humanity embodied in social and political institu- 
tions that he is a rational being. Apart from society, 
which is his substance, man is only an animal. Auf- 
klarung is myopic, its vision does not extend beyond 
the individual, and it therefore fails to see that the 
reason which Jt justly extols is a universal principle 
which carries the individual beyond himself and brings 
him into living connection with his fellows, thereby 
organising them into a whole of which they are 
members. The principle which, rightly understood, 
will be found to be the essential bond of union of 
humanity, is misinterpreted by rationalism and turned 
into a watchword of anarchism. "We all live now," 
says Stirling, "divorced from substance, forlorn each 
of us, isolated to himself an absolutely abstract unit 


in a universal, unsympathising, unparticipant atomism. 
. . . The Aufklarung has left us nothing but our 
animality, nothing but our relationship to the monkey. 
It has emptied us of all essential humanity of philo- 
sophy, Morality, Religion." Hegel while fully accept- 
ing the principle of the Aufklarung seeks to correct 
the one-sidedncss of the movement, and it is for this 
reason that his philosophy, in Stirling's view, is cal- 
culated to meet the requirements of the present time. 
But just as Socrates, Plato and Aristotle failed to arrest 
the disintegrating movement which brought about the 
downfall of Greece, so has the Hegelian philosophy so 
far failed to stem the tide of the anarchism of thd 
present age. "The Aufklarung, dead among thinkers; 
has descended upon the people; and there is hardly 
a hamlet but has its Tom Paines by the half-dozen 
its Tom Paines of the tap all emulously funny of the 
one subject. I witnessed such a thing myself last 
summer in the country the bewildered defeat of my 
landlady under the crowing triumph of her son, a lad 
of seventeen or so, who had asked her to explain to 
him where Cain got his wife ! " " In the study and the 
library, it is true, books have been restored to their 
shelves, chairs and tables once more stand in their 
places; but down in the servants' quarters, cook and 
scullion and chambermaid are still hurling out of 
window, with shouts of derision, pots and pans and 
brooms and shovels and all the other paraphernalia of 
the kitchen." 

Stirling regards Hegel's philosophy as the logical 
outcome_jpf the Kantian critiques. It consistently 
develops the main idea of the deduction of the 
categories. Fichte and Schelling, no doubt, are very 
fruitful in their suggestions, but are not the logical 


continuators 1 of Kant. Whatever may be HegePs 
indebtedness to them, he ultimately dirpensed with 
both and started afresh from Kant. " But very little 
material could be pointed to as separating Hegel from 
Kant, and generally in all respects it was Hegel who 
specially continued and developed into full and final 
form all the issues which Kant had ever properly 
begun." The critical philosophy, in short, so Stirling 
thinks, finds its culmination in the philosophy of 

The Copernican change which Kant brought about 

---- . ...... .JCl ..... . ............ Q- ............. ..... ^ .Q ....... ._ ___ , 

in philosophy is to_ show rfiatjthe objective world of 
experience is jconsti tu tedMby ._lh.?_0llod. Sensations 
which in themselye_s.^rg^g.iLpQSsible objects Qf^EnQW-- 
|edge^jre^j^c^ed,JntQ ^bjeaiye forms of 

perception time and space, and brought into relation 

*** ...... .... ., t ............ -^- ............. - ..... - *-' ' '-O- , - - ...- -" n. _ 

to each other in certainjdefinite ways by the ^synthetic 
activity o_the_splf^ The Jorrns_o7^ syji thesis, are the 
categories, and it is through subjection to them that 
jtensations are turned into cognisable objects forming 
parts of a single system which we call jiature. J^now- 
ledge, that is to say, arises out of the combination of 
the data of sense arranged in time and 

categories," and this combination is the work qfjthe 
mind. Apart from relation to the self, nature has no 
meaning, and the self is conscious of its own unity 

1 Hegel's relation to Kant is undoubtedly close and intimate. But it 
Is a mistake to regard his philosophy as nothing more than the logical 
outcome of Kant's system. The influence of Greek philosophy on 
Hegel, particularly of Plato and Aristotle, must not be overlooked. 
Indeed, it is not difficult to defend the thesis that the essentials of 
Hegel's philosophy are to be found in Plato and Aristotle and that 
all that he did was to make a new synthesis of them with such modi- 
fications as modern knowledge required. The beginning, for example, 
of his logic, all that he says about being and nothing, will be found 
almost in identical terms in Plato's Parmedldes. 


through the synthetic activity by means of which 
chaotic sensations are reduced to elements of the cosmos 
of experience. The drawback of such a theory is that 
it absolutely fails_to explain how two .. such__hetero- 
geneous entities as sense and understanding can evei 
come into harmonious reIatio"nsKrp with each oth^r. If 
percepts and concepts are inseparably united,"!? self- 
consciousness and the consciousness of the objective 
world mutually imply each other, the conclusion which 
legitimately follows is that knowledge is an organic 
whole within which the various elements of it can be 
distinguished from each other, and not that it is the 
result of a mechanical combination of disparate ele- 
ments. Sense ana understanding are not alien to each 
other, but are the correlated elements of the one world 
of experience. It is not we who impose the categories 
upon the manifold of sense; they are the basal prin- 
ciples of things themselves, and are, therefore, not 
subjective but objective. Nor is the mind to which 
nature is relative the finite mind of this or that indi- 
vidual; it is the mind of nature itself, the spiritual 
principle of unity revealed everywhere and in all 
things. Hegel sees all this clearly, and transforms 
Kant's halting^idgalism into Absolute Idealism. The 
categories for him are neither twelve in number nor 
subjective." They, in Stirling's words % are " the uni- 
versal principles of reason which constitute th&jdflamon4 
net_into the invisible meshes of which the material 
universe concretes itself." Nature is made by the 
understanding only in the sense that it is the outer 
embodiment of a mind universal and objective o7 
which th(Tcategories are constitutive elemental "Reason 
is "The thing of things, the secret and centre, of the 


Kant's method of discovering the categories is arti- 
ficial and arbitrary' He deduces them from the forms 
of judgment recognised in formal logic and imagines 
that they are mere instruments employed by the self 
for the purpose of manufacturing knowledge out of 
the materials supplied by sense. Their relation to the 
self therefore is quite external and unessential, and 
there is no necessary connection between them. But 
if the categories are the conj^ud^ 

things themselves,, if they are the determinate forms 
oFjthought self-expressed in nature, the true way of 
discovering them is to survey and scrujjnise nature 
itself. This is the method which Hegel employs,. He 
gets his categories from the various sciences and spheres 
of experience and does not think of prescribing any 
arbitrary limit to their number. They are as many 
as the distinguishable forms of things. And as experi- 
ence is an organic whole, the categories are held together 
by an inner bond and form a complete system, and 
the proper method of deducing them is to trace *out 
their mutual relations. Hegel uses the dialectical 
method for this purpose. His aim is to show that 
the categories are the successive stages through which 
thought rises from the most abstract and inadequate 
view of reality t n f he most Concrete and adequate vie^y 
pf it. We may if we choose begin by conceiving of 
it, like Parmenides, as pure being; but, if we think 
consistently and systematically, we must ultimately 
say that it is mind. The categories therefore can be 
arranged in an ascending order of complexity and 
value. The Jower is not set aside, but is taken up 
into and retained as an element of the higHeri THe 
highest category into which all other categories entg* 
as its moments js the notion or, in its developed form, 


the Absolute Idea, by which Hegel means mind 
regarded as .subject-object and not^ o^e^idjsdly, as mere 
subject. The__Absolute_jnind. then^ ^sg^Hy^^con- 
sidered, may be regarded as the unified system of the 
categories^ The self is not other than the categories, 
as Kant thinks, but is the organised unity of them, 
and, as such, itys not any finite self but the universal 
self, the self of the total system of things. 

The categories form the content of the notion. They, 
however, constitute only the universal aspect of reality 
their co^terpart the 

experience in ^which they are .concretely embodied. The 
universal has no meaning apart from the particular, nor 
the particular apart from the universal. They pre- 
suppose each other and together constitute what is real. 
The universe is on one side a system of general notions 
and on the othef a totality ot particular tact The 
categories of thought andjthe particulars of sense which T 
in the system of^ Kantj^ai^tw^ 

of^ human knowledge mechanically brought together, 
are for Hegel only two distinguishable aspects of the 
world. Thought is the other of sense-perception and 
sense-perception is the other of thought. u The uni- 
verse is but matter modelled on thought. Thought is 
aT system, and this system is _ 

elementj)f sense* or what we conceive as that element. 

is nothing as against this system^ and can only be 
aamed_with propriety th ^ ntJw " (Secret of Hegelj 
new edition, p. in). The universal mind is through 
the medium of the categories realised in nature, and 
nature, permeated and sustained by the categories, finds 
in mind its own essence and meaning. 

To Fichte the Absolute is Ego. He reduossjiature 
to" the position of a niere limiting principle of the ego. 


Schelliftg regards nature as the^ correlative of jni 

In mind nature is idealised and in nature mind is 
realised. The Absolute is neither the one nor the 
other one-sidedly. IjL^ands above and is the source 
of both and is to be conceived as the^neutrum. Hegel 
pours contempt upon the neutrum. It is but the night 
m which all cows are black. Things do^ not disappear 
in the Absolute; it is the Absolute that appears in 
them and JSL their principle of unity. It is subject 
that overreaches,, the .distinction Between itselFanH" Its 
own object. 

and the finite mind are for the ordinary 

i and popular philo- 

sophy has always been at its wits 5 end to determine 
exactly the place of each in its relations to the others. 
To Hegel they are only different phases of the Abso- 
lute Spirit. '^Thought js_ the rea][ contents of the 
universe in Nature, it is but as other, and in a system 
is other; in Spirit, it returns from Nature, its other, 
into its own self, is by its own self, and is its own 
energy. The Absolute Spirit, then, God is the first 
and last, and the universe is but jiis_jjiffergnce and 
system of differences^ in which individual subjectivities 
have but their part and place " (Ibid, p. 112). 

Such, in bri$f outline, is the teaching of Hegel which 
Stirling was the first to expound in English. If it is 
to be called idealism at all, it is essential to remember 
that it is not idealism in the ordinary sense of the 
term. From beginning to end Hegel is wide awake 
and thoroughly realistic. Hejnever says that the 

workL in w hJglLJj[Ljjy5 ^-J 10 * as rea ^ as fe seems> 
His contention is that it is more real than it isjaken 
byJtHe realist to be The physical is, in its lastjintgr- 
pretation, spiritual without ceasing to^ 


ThaL _which, from a lower point of view, is a world 
of matter is, from_the standpoint of philosophy, the 
self -revelation, thq ^xternalisation, o 

The mission of Hegel, Stirling insists, is not to 
destroy but to fulfil. " His one object is the recon- 
struction of religion, both natural and revealed, and 
on the higher basis which the Aufklarung, so far as 
it has approved itself to the essential interests of 
humanity, demands." "A philosophy whose purpose 
and effect are not to countenance and support all the 
great interests of religion is no philosophy, but a 
material for the fire only." 

Stirling does not claim that the system of Hegel 
is perfect in every detail. " We do not say and Hegel 
does not say that it is complete, and that no joining 
gapes. On the contrary, in the execution of the details 
there will be much that will give pause. Still in this 
execution we may say as much as this on our own 
account all the great interests of mankind have been 
kindled into new lights by the touch of this master 
hand; and surely the general idea is one of the hugest 
that ever curdled in the thought of man. Hegel, 
indeed, so far as abstract thought is concerned, and 
so far as one can see at this moment, seems to have 
closed an era, and has named the all of things in such 
terms of thought as will perhaps remain essentially 
the same for the next thousand years. To all present 
outward appearance, at least, what Aristotle was to 
ancient Greece, Hegel is to modern Europe " (Secret 
of Hegel, new edition, p. 97). 

Stirling's attitude towards the dominant moral philo- 
sophy of his time is one of uncompromising hostility. 
" Eudaemonism," he declares, " never appears in this 
world but when the Community is in dissolution and 


the individual must look out for himself. And theo- 
retically we would point out that there can be no 
philosophy of subjectivity but only of objectivity." 
His political creed is based on the conviction that the 
particular will of the individual must conform to the 
general will, if civilised life is to be possible. All 
sound political principles must be determined by the 
fundamental fact that individuals can realise their ends 
only in fellowship and co-operation with each other, 
which involves their subordination to the whole, the 
state to which they belong. This means that "in a 
state there must be a principle of central authority." 
Unchecked democracy seemed to Stirling to endanger 
this principle. " I am," he says, " a conservative, but 
it is not as a common tory for class privileges and 
mere tradition : it is only for organisation. It seems 
to me at present as if, in the tendency to an extreme 
democracy, we were losing the balance of our con- 
stitution. . . . Under modern liberalism, we are 
simply returning to our woods again what Darwin 
would call the civilisation of the Chimpanzee and the 
Gorilla! " 



THE publication of Stirling's Secret of Hegel was an 
epoch-making event in the history of British thought. 
It introduced ideas into Great Britain with which the 
traditional intuitionism and empiricism of the country 
had very little in common, but without which further 
progress of British philosophical thought was scarcely 
possible. It gave an impetus to the study of German 
idealism and particularly of Hegel, and led to the 
foundation of the school of philosophy to which, rightly 
or wrongly, the name of Neo-Hegelianism has been 
given. About the time of the publication of Stirling^ 
great work, other students of philosophy also had been 
studying Hegel. Among them were T. H. Green 
and Edward Caird. The spread of Hegelian ideas 
in England and Scotland was in no small measure due 
to their teachings. At Oxford, during a considerable 
period of the last quarter of the Nineteenth Century, 
Green's influence was supreme. He was a striking 
personality, and his elevating influence was extra- 
ordinary. Perhaps the man was greater than his 
philosophy. When he began to teach philosophy at 
Oxford, J. S. Mill exercised the most potent intel- 
lectual influence there. Green and Mill were the 
protagonists of opposite modes of thought, and in 
them the British and German lines of speculation came 

H.N.-H. 17 B 


into conflict. Green succeeded in supplanting Mill, 
and became the coryphaeus of a band of thinkers who 
drew their inspiration largely from Kant and Hegel. 
The basis of Green's thought was unquestionably 
Hegelian, but he was never a mere disciple of the 
German philosopher. He started frqrn Kant ani.used 
Hegel mainly for the purpose of removing Kant's 
inconsistencies and defects. Throughout his writings, 
Kant's doctrines are constantly referred to, but Hegel 
is seldom mentioned, and in the Prolegomena to 
Ethics is not mentioned at all. Nevertheless, he was 
deeply convinced of the value of Hegel's teaching 
and, in spite of his profound distrust of the dialectical 
method, regarded it as the last word of philosophy. 
"When we think out the problem left by previous 
inquirers, we find ourselves led to it by an intellectual 
necessity, but on reflection we become aware that we 
are Hegelian, so to speak, with only a fraction of our 
thoughts on the Sundays of c speculation,' not on the 
weekdays of ordinary thought." The vital truth which 
Hegel had to teach, Green thinks, requires to be pre- 
sented in a more convincing form, and "whoever 
would so present it, though he can not drink too 
deep of Hegel, should rather sit loose to the dialectical 

Green was a systematic thinker. " There was," says 
Lord Bryce, "nothing random or scattered in his 
ideas." All his views, metaphysical, ethical, political 
and religious, are interdependent elements of a com- 
prehensive system of thought. "He was not," says 
Nettleship, "a mere discoverer of sporadic good ideas; 
his tendency was to form his conclusions into a whole, 
in which nothing was isolated or out of relation to the 

T. H. GREEN 19 

Green's philosophical ideas are brought out largely 
through criticisms of Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Spencer, 
Lewes and Kant. They are also presented in a con- 
structive form in the Prolegomena to Ethics y The 
Principles of Political Obligation, and some minor 
essays. 9 


The Prolegomena to Ethics opens with the query, 
"czmjhe knowledge of nature be itself a part or pro- 
duct of nature ? " Green's answer to the question is 
that jS by nature we mean the system of 

facts presented injgj^erience^ the knowledge of nature 
rarmnt b^ a p^rfr nf nature ? for the presupposition of 
such a system is the consciousness apart frorp which 
it has no meaning. The facts_of_expgrience are detqr- 
mined bv the relations__m which they g^M tn *irh 
lie~ A tKIng^we^call real is such by virtue of the 
position it has in the whole of experience. The source 
of tKese relations is the unity of consciousness to which 
all the related facts are referred. Things are known 
only on one condition, and this condition is that they 
are held together in consciousness as mutually related 
elements of a single ^whole. If a particular fact is 
constituted by the relations in which it stands to others, 
and if such relations mean that the related facts are 
co-present to a common element which is conscious- 
ness, then consciousness itself cannot be one of the 
related facts. It must be regarded as logically prior 
to them, upon which their existence as facts depends. 
The question whether anything is real or not means, 
is it or is it not related as it seems to be related, and 
it implies the conception of nature as "JL. single UH- 
alterable order of relations." Such a conception has 


no meaning except to a consciousness that has it: It 
is not possible for a conception of an order of nature 
to be produced by anything other ' than itself. If 
experience is to be regarded as the source of it, it 
must be "experience of matters of fact recognised as 
such" Out of a mere series of related events the 
consciousness of the series cannot arise. It must be 
equally present to all the events of which it is the 
consciousness, and, as such, transcends them. The 
knowledge of nature is not a process of nature or the 
effect of anything^liatural. It is that through which 
alone nature is r^J fnr us. ~~~ ' 

Can we say that n.QL^nly thel^owledge of nature 
but^Jthe existence of nature jresj^poses^ a_^piritual 
principle? The possibility of answering the question 
iHTfie~affirmative would seem to be precluded by the 
antithesis, emphasised by Locke, between the real and 
the work of the mind. How can understanding make 
nature when what is due to it is merely the work of 
the mind as distinguished from nature which is real? 
But if we withdraw from the real all qualities consti- 
tuted by relations, nothing is left. To say that relations 
are_jhe work of the mind and to oppose^the^work 
of_thejmnd to the real is to maintain that nothing is 
reaL_ Relation's are inherent in things and they are 
known by means of them. Tjyy, tWpf^p^are as real 
asthe things of which they are the essence. The real 
is not determined by contrast with the unreal, for 
nothing is unreal. Even an absolutely false idea is 
real. The truth which this erroneous distinction mis- 
represents is that the relations by which we suppose 
a thing to be determined may not be the relations by 
which it is actually determined. Relations may thus 
be ascribed to it in which it does not as a matter of 

T. H. GREEN 21 

fact* stand. In this way it seems to be what it is not. 
Such erroneously or inadequately conceived relations, 
however, are alterable. But what a thing truly is r it 
is unalterably. This unalterableness, howevei%_j)glQngs 
to the system of relations _in^ which facts stand to 
each_other, and may, through 


to __ the mere facts^ apart from their 

The presupposition of our inquiry into the real 
nature of_appearances is a single, 
inclusive system of relations of which all, 
things are constitutive elements. For our finite intel- 
ligence, it is not possible to find out all the conditions 
by which an objtct is determined. There will always 
be unascertained conditions on which its real nature 
depends. But the fact that our conception of a thing 
changes as we pass from a less complete to a more 
complete determination of it points to an unalterable 
order of relations in which all things are included. 

What does such an order mean and what is implied 
in its existence? This is the question which philo- 
sophy must attempt to answer. To the unthinking 
mind nature is an aggregate of objects which, no doubt, 
exist side by side with each other, but are independent 
of and bear no essential relationship to each other. 
But, on reflection, we perceive that a thing is only in 
so far as it points beyond itself to something else. Its 
reality consists in being determined by the^varioui 
relations in which it stands to other things. The 
qualities which things possess are due to the influence 
which they exert upon each other as related elements 
of a connected whole. Relation means the existence 
in one. Whether we say that a 

is m itself one, but manifold in respect of its relations, 


or that there is one relation between many things, we 
are equally affirming the unity of the manifold. That 
alone has reality which is itself and not itself in one, 
a unity in difference or a differentiated unity. Take 
away from the things their relations and there is 
nothing. It is not that things first exist and^then 
enter into various ""relations.. Apart fr v om the relations 
tEey fiave absolutely no _ meaning. The one world, 
in jhqrtj consists of many phenomena and the_many 
phenomena arejyhat they are by virtue of the relations 
that reduce them to the unity of the world. 

Individual things in entering into relations do not 

cease to TJeTiSIvldual. On the contrary, relatioli 

.~ "- " " ~ ~ * 

between them is possible because they remain dislihc! 
from each other. But several things cannot of them- 
selves become united into one world. There must 
therefore be " something other than the manifold things 
themselves, which combines them without effacing their 
severality." With such a combining principle we are 
familiar as our own mind. Successive events of con- 
sciousness are possible because each event in the series 
is qualified by its relation to what goes before it and 
comes after it through their relation to a unifying 
consciousness which is not one of them but is common 
to them and brings them together without obliterat- 
ing their distinction from each other. Similarly, the 
consciousness of objects in space is possible because 
a plurality of separate things are held together in 
knowledge. If by nature we mean a system of related 
facts, the presupposition of it must be a spiritual prin- 
ciple to which all the facts are present. Things are 
constituted by relations and relations imply a relating 
mind that distinguishes itself from them. The union 
with and distinction from each other of the constituent 

T. H. GREEN 23 

elements of the world is possible because of their 
relation to a universal principle common to them. 
Things exist not on their own account, but in virtue 
of the relations in winch they stand to eachother, and 
they can be in relationshipwith eachTother because of 
their relation to a spirituaPprincipIeTvhich at j)nce 
unites and distinguisHes" Therru The" correlative of 
natureTs~anj^ of related phenomena, 

therefore,. js_ m i nd. This universal mind is not any 
particular thing, and islhereFore nol related to^najure 
as"l>ne__of the__things^ comprised within it is Jglated 
to .soother. . The presujpposTfion of the world-system 
that which is present to everything but is limited 
to none cannot itself be a component part of it. 

Against a view like this it may be urged that to 
show that understanding makes nature is not to prove 
that the real world of things in themselves is con- 
stituted by thought. It is no doubt true, as Kant 
shows, that the objective world of experience owes 
its existence to the synthetic unity of consciousness 
combining sensations with each other in certain definite 
ways. But the experienced world organised by mind 
is not the world of things in themselves, and because 
the former is essentially related to the self it does 
not follow that the latter also is similarly conditioned. 
What the things in themselves are we do not know, 
except this, that they acting on us produce sensa- 
tions. The spirituality of nature therefore does not 
necessarily mean the spirituality of what is ultimately 

Green argues that it is impossible to find satisfaction 
in such a theory. If sensations are caused by things 
in themselves, the latter must be phenomena, for only 
phenomena falling within experience can be related to 


each other as cause and effect. To suppose that things 
in themselves are wholly out of relation to experience 
and undetermined by thought, and yet to speak of 
them as one or many or as causes of sensations, is, on 
Kant's own principles, absolutely self-contradictory, for 
the categories of unity, plurality and causality are 
applicable only to experienced facts. Again, the con- 
sequence of conceiving of sensations as produced by 
things in themselves is that they must be regarded 
as having two natures absolutely inconsistent with each 
other. They, as elements of knowledge determined 
by relations, have one nature; as effects of the action 
of things in themselves on us, they have another 
nature, and between these two natures nothing what- 
ever is common. Two wholly unrelated worlds, the 
c cosmos of our experience ' and the order of things 
in themselves, determine the same sensations. " If this 
be so the conception of a universe is a delusive one. 
Man weaves a web of his own and calls it a universe; 
but if the principle of this universe is neither one with, 
nor dependent on, that of things in themselves, there 
is in truth no universe at all, nor does there seem to 
be any reason why there should not be any number 
of such independent creations. We have asserted the 
unity of the world of our experience only to transfer 
that world to a larger chaos " (Prolegomena to Ethics^ 
ist ed., p. 45). 

Because the matter of e_xperience is not reducible 

* _ --.--' ---- 4 . . .,,,, ^ 

to me form of it, Kam^ujrpgses that it Jiasj, character 

independent of the latter. Sensadcm^ the material out 
of which knowledge is organised, is attributed tojin 
extra-mental rcalitj^^ 
mind, and experience^is^ conceived M.^i s l 

the combination of the two. To account for the 

T. H. GREEN 25 

matter.. of_ ^knowledge, the hypothesis of things in 
themselves becomes necessary. But mere sensation 
has no place either in the world of facts or in the 
consciousness which it implies, for sensation unquali- 
fied by thought is an abstraction. " Feeling and thought 
are inseparable and mutually dependent in the con : 
sciousness for which the worlcT "of experience "exists, 
inseparable and mutually dependent in the construction 
of the facts which form the object of that consciousness. 
Each in its full reality includes the other. It is one 
and the same living world of experience which, con- 
sidered as the manifold object presented by a self- 
distinguishing subject to itself, may be called feeling, 
and considered as the subject presenting such an object 
to itself may be called thought " (Ibid. p. 55). What 
Kant evidently has in mind is that understanding 
cannot be regarded as the creative source of the facts 
of experience. This is quite true, but from it the 
inference does not follow that feeling is separate from 
thought. Neither can be reduced to the other. Nor 
is there any such thing as mere feeling or mere thought. 
These expressions only cc represent abstractions to which 
no reality corresponds either in the facts of the world 
or in the consciousness to which those facts are relative. 
We can attach no meaning to c reality ' as applied to 
the world of phenomena, but that of existence under 
definite and unalterable relations, and we find that it 
is only for a thinking consciousness that such relations 
can subsist." 

From the conclusion, then, that nature as an order 
of mutually related objects and events implies a self- 
distinguishing mind as its necessary correlative, there 
is no escape. Objects, for example, co-exist in space. 
This means that they are at once together and separate 


from each other. A relationship of this kind, however, 
is impossible without self-consciousness, the only thing 
" in which a manifold is united without ceasing to be 
manifold." Take, again, the case of time. If one 
event were simply over when another occurred, succes- 
sion would not be possible. In order that one of them 
may be before or after another, borh of them must 
be present to a unifying consciousness not in time. 
Succession is possible only through relation to a con- 
sciousness which brings together the succeeding events 
without being one of them. Similarly, substance means 
change in which it is expressed and change presupposes 
substance, but the correlativity of the two is rendered 
possible by the unity of the self to which both are 
referred. From whatever point of view we may look 
at the matter, it will be seen that the universe as a 
" system in which every element, being correlative to 
every other, at once presupposes and is presupposed by 
every other " implies an eternally complete conscious- 
ness as the condition of its being. If the world as a 
connected system of facts exists, then, as the principle 
that makes it possible, God exists, and if God did not 
exist, the world could not be in existence. Ultimate 
reality, that is, is neither mind per se nor matter 
It is " a single, eternal activity or energy, of which it 
is the essence to be self-conscious, that is, to be itself 
and not itself in one." 

In what relation does man as a thinking being stand 
to the non-natural principle implied in the existence 
of nature? As included within the world, we, no 
doubt, are parts of It^tut it isjalso true that, as capaEIe 
of knowledge, we are raijg^abovejt and brought into 
relation to the self -distinguishing subject for which* 
it exists. That man transcends nature" is "affiriSed:""oir 

T. H. GREEN 27 

the ground that he exercises powers which he could 
not if he were a mere part of it. But an analysis of 
the ordinary processes of cognition leads to the same 
conclusion. Our experience is, on the one hand a 
series of events in time; on the other hand, it is a 
consciousness of "tEis series. This consciousness cannot 
Be a part of the txmrse of nature. Successive facts of 
experience, m order to be known, must be related to 
and distinguished from each other, and this involves 
the operation of a combining mind to which the facts 
are presented. It cannot, therefore, be itself one of 
the related facts. JThe psychjgajjjprocess of knowing 
is not to be ^onfuse^with^ the content of "knowledge!! 
The former is an order of events occurringIn~timej 
but the latter presupposes the activity of a self- 
distinguishing consciousness which puts together the 
various items of experience as mutually related facts 
and cannot, therefore, be one or a series of them. 
Knowledge may be of phenomena, but it cannot itself 
bea^ phenomcnon^_forjits possibility depen3F"iiiponltEe 
known jfacts being presented to consciousness as con- 
nected elements^of a whole. All this, of course, does 
not mean that we have the power to make or unmake 
objects as we please. What is maintained is simply 
this, that, given experience, an analysis of it shows 
that its support is a consciousness which is not reducible 
to what is experienced. 

As subjects of knowledge, then, we are not parts of 
nature^ut unifying principles presupposed in know- 
ledge aianHJoji^ self-distinguishing^ 

mind for wfaich the universe exists. At the same time, 
it is a fact that our finite consciousness, though, in 
knowledge, it holds together successive events as equally 
present, has a history in time and changes from moment 


to moment. This state of the case "can oftly be 
explained by supposing that in the growth of our 
experience, in the process of our learning to know the 
world, an animal organism, which has its history in time, 
gradually becomes the vehicle of an eternally complete 
consciousness " (Ibid. p. 73). The finite self of man 
is a partial reproduction of itself on the part of" the 
TTns does not mean THat there aretwo 

minds in man " but that the one indivisible reality of 
our consciousness cannot be comprehended in a single 
conception. In seeking to understand its reality we 
have to look at it from two different points of view; 
and the different conceptions that we form of it, as 
looked at from these different points, do not admit of 
being united, any more than do our impressions of 
opposite sides of the same shield." If the universe as 
an all-inclusive system of related objects implies a mind 
eternally complete, and if our knowledge of it at any 
particular moment is incomplete and grows in time, 
acquisition of knowledge on our part " is only explicable 
as a reproduction of itself, in the human soul, by the 
consciousness for which the cosmos of related facts exists 
a reproduction of itself in which it uses the sentient 
life of the soul as its organ. " 

If man as intelligence is a reproduction of an eternal 
consciousness " not in time but the condition of there 
being frn onjer jn time, not an .object, of ^ experience, ^ut 
the- condition ..of jhere being an intelligent experience," 
then he is not subject to the law of causality. The 
relation of cause and effect obtains between particular 
factgof experience The"! n var iaELJT antecedent or the 
sum of conditions into which an event may be analysed" 
is the cause. What necess^il^fcLlows^Jrom^^setjof 
conditions is the effect. But the condition of the pos- 

T. H. GREEN 29 

sibility of things being mutually determined in this 
way is the symhetic activity of a unifying principle to 
which all facts are equally present, but which distin- 
guishes itself from them all, while relating them. The 
relation of the unifying principle to the objects which 
it unifies is, therefore, not the same as the relation of 
one of the objects to others. The principle of unity 
of all things through the medium of which they are 
related to each other is itself not one of them and is, 
consequently, not subject to the relations of which it 
is the source. It is determined by nothing, but all 
things are determined by it in the sense that their 
determination by each other is made possible by its 
presence to and self-distinction from them. Causal 
determination is determination from without. But the 
self is not external to the world and cannot, therefore, 
be the cause or the effect of it. However much the 
cause and the effect may be dependent on each other, 
they, as external to each other, have their separate 
natures. But the world and the unifying principle 
which makes it possible are two aspects of the same 
thing. Neither has a nature of its own apart from the 
other. cc There is nothing to qualify the determined 
world as a whole, but that inner determination of all 
contained in it by mutual relation, which is due to the 
action of the unifying principle; nor anything to qualify 
the unifying principle but this very action, with the 
self-distinction necessary to it" (Ibid. p. 81). Because 
in determining the world the constitutive principle of 
it is not determined by anything other than itself, but 
is self-determined, it may be called the " free cause " 
of the world. 

Now, man, as subject of knowledge, as one who 
conceives time and therefore is not in time, is, like the 


spiritual principle in nature whose reproduction he is, 
a free cause, although the events of his natural life, as 
parts of nature, are subject to the laws of nature. The 
activity of knowledge through which he is conscious 
of the world and of his own personal history is the 
action in him of an eternal consciousness that uses the 
processes and functions of his life as its organs and 
reproduces itself through them. Partaking of the 
freedom of the eternal mind, he is free. This does not 
mean that he is only in part free, because, as an animal, 
he is a product of nature. The animality of man is 
transfigured by its contact with his spiritual nature and 
the actions which in an animal wo\ild be wanting in 
freedom, become, as performed by him, the modes of 
expression of his free causality. 

In the foregoing account of Green's metaphysical 
theory, stress has not been laid on the passages in which 
he seems to teach that the universe is reducible to a 
system of mere relations focussed in an eternal mind. 
Critics of Green have fastened upon such passages and 
have obtained easy victory over him by showing, what 
hardly requires to be shown, that the system of nature 
cannot be resolved into " some spectral woof of im- 
palpable abstractions. 55 Lord Balfour, for example, 
justly maintains that " it is hard to see how it is 
possible to conceive a universe in which relations shall 
be all in all, but in which nothing is to be permitted 
for the relations to subsist between. Relations surely 
imply a something which is related, and if that some- 
thing is, in the absence of relations, c nothing for us 
as thinking beings,' so relations, in the absence of that 
something, are mere symbols emptied of their significa- 
tion; they are, in short, an illegitimate abstraction" 
(Foundations of Belief y pp. 151-52). Green, surely, is 

T. H. GREEN 31 

not forgetful of this truth and his own argument against 
Kant, as the passages already quoted clearly show, is 
based on it. If, at^times,Jie seems to reduce the world 

he is most" empHaficTn 

repudiating the Kantian separation between the forrp 
and the matter of experience. The fact is that the 
form of Green's argument and his phraseology are 
largely determined by the dominant philosophy of his 
time. At Oxford he had to fight constantly against the 
empiricism of Mill, Locke and Hume. Spencer and 
Lewes were always in his mind. In opposition to the 
empiricist reduction of mind and reality into aggregates 
and series of unrelated impressions, he urges, with all 
the emphasis at his command, that, apart from relations, 
sensations are simply nothing. Even the philosophy of 
Kant, out of which his own is largely developed, led 
him to accentuate the importance of relations. For 
Kant, like his predecessor .Hjj^^Jbdieves^ injhe reality 
of unrelated sensations, only that he regards them ais 
incapable of being known, whHe Hume assumes them 
to be possible objects^of knowledge. The doctrine, so 
familiar to us at the present day, that^ sensations_are 
real only as elements^of the__" > cosniQ& 

had,TrTTjreen T s time, in Great Britain at least, yet to 
establish its claim to acceptance, and it is not surprising 
that in championing it, he should be led at times to 
over-emphasise the importance of relations. The pas- 
sages in which reality is characterised as a system of 
thought-relations occur more frequently in his polemical 
writings than in the Prolegomena to Ethics. But 
fjreen's writings must be judged as a whole, and on 
t]ie whole. So judged, they cannot fairly be regarded 
as justifying the strictures of critics like Lord Balfour. 
All that can be said is that in the zeal of his crusade 


against empiricism, he sometimes uses incautious lan- 
guage which seems to suggest that relations alone 
constitute reality. 

Green is never tired_of_ insisting that apart from the 
relating^_activltj_pj jthe_self a cosmos or intelligible 
world is not possible. This does notymean that experi- 
ence is manufactured out of the particulars of sense by 
a self operating upon them from without and reducing 
them to unity. In the passages which appear to convey 
this meaning. Green only seeks to point out the cor- 
relativity of perceived facts and conceived relations and 
their necessary reference to a self -conscious principle 
that makes such correlation possible. It is not easy to 
express complex thoughts in adequate and unambiguous 
language. In calling attention to the presupposition of 
sensations, supposed by Hume and his followers to be 
discrete and unrelated, Green inevitably uses expres- 
sions which seem to imply that that presupposition is 
something added to them. But what is really meant 
is that_the self^and the world of interrelated objects 
mutuallyimply each other. Neitherj^nxed 
in time.~~TleIatIon"s and the self which is their centre 
and source belong to things and are inseparable from 

" How can we,*' asks Lord Balfour, " who start from 
the basis of our limited self -consciousness rise to the 
knowledge of that completed and divine consciousness 
of which we share the essential nature ? " How could 
we, one may ask in reply, know that we are finite 
beings without rising to a point of view from which 
the limitations of our nature can be seen? A merely 
finite being would never be conscious of its fi&itude. 
He who perceives the boundaries of a thing is enabled 1 
to do so because he occupies a position from which it 

T. H. GREEN 33 

is po^ible to look beyond them. The very conscious- 
ness we havej:hat we are finite individuals proves that 
there is an infinite principle in us which is beyond all 
particular selves and is their unity. It is through 
relation to this principle that it is possible for us to 
know that we are. finite beings. The one is nothing 
without the other./ If there is a c we ' at all, it is because, 
as Green says, the self of the universe is communicated 
to us. 

Although the human self is inexplicable unless we 
regard it as a limited expression of the divine self, 
Green's conception of the relation between the two is 
not free from difficulties. In us, he says, the eternal 
mind is manifested- through an animal organism. Our 
growing knowledge of the world is only explicable as 
a reproduction of itself in the human soul by the con- 
sciousness for which the universe of related facts exists 
in which it uses the sentient life of the soul as its organ. 
Statements of this kind convey the impression that the 
eternally complete consciousness is complete indepen- 
dently of the animal organism and the sensitive life 
connected with it and that the individual consciousness 
which has a history in time is merely an excrescence 
upon the world to which it bears no necessary relation. 
Are the processes of our intelligence but superfluous 
reflections of the Absolute thought embodied in the 
objective world in its actual totality or are they included 
in the Absolute thought as its essential ingredient ? 
Is the time order real and a necessary element of the 
eternal order or is it only a false appearance arising from 
the necessity we are under of comprehending the world 
bit by bit, of passing " from condition to condition, 
from effect to effect ? " To suppose that the self- 
distinguishing, self-objectifying mind of the universe 

H.N.-H. C 


is complete without the finite minds and their, frag- 
mentary experiences is to make the latter purposeless 
and to set up a new dualism in place of the old. It 
is also, in the words of Sidgwick, " to split up [the 
individual consciousness] between an eternally complete 
consciousness out of time and a function of an animal 
organism which this eternal mind, limiting itself some- 
how, makes its vehicle." .If idealism is to be a tejnable 
theory, it must make room for movement and change, 
novelties and fresh developments in the universe as it 
exists not merely for us but for God. It is not enough 
to trace the differences of the world up to an ultimate 
principle of unity. The principle of unity must be 
seen to be realised in the changes and differences of 
the world. It is true that Green does not deny this, 
but, on the whole, his tendency in developing his theory 
is to represent the Absolute reality as timeless and 
statically perfect. 

The inclusion of finite minds in the Absolute numi, 
it Fas been maintained, is unintelligible. Self-conscious 
individuals exclude each other, and it is inconsistent 
with their nature to suppose that they are constituent 
members of a single whole. Many minds unified in 
one mind or one mind realised in many minds, so the 
argument runs^is an impossible conception. But Is"no1 
the whole difficulty due to our preconceived notion 
that a self-conscious personality must be numerically 
one and indivisible ? What is there to show that a self 
must be insulated from other selves ? As known to us, 
the self is never an isolated individual : it is what it is 
by virtue of its membership of society. Individual 
minds are real not in .their separateness but through 
fKeiFparticipation in the 'social mind. The latter, there- 
Fore^^ higher degree of reality than the former. 

T. H. GREEN 35 

and j mind is to .bejthe explanatory principle of jthc 
universe, _thg> t^ge_gf it must be the social mind. From 
this point of view, the self of which thejsbjective world 
is the^ expressig.a^w,QJLLkl^ appear to ,be ^a^miit^^^ma^ 
selves rather than a single atomic^jtelf . 

With one morq word, we will take leave of Green's 
metaphysics. H'e is content with showing that the 
universe implies relations .as_[ts sustaining principles, 
and that relations <c only exist through the action of 
a unifying and self -distinguishing spiritual subject." 
But, surely, the relations are of different kinds and their 
value is not the same. The mutual relations of things, 
for example, cannot be on the same level with their 
relation to the spirit for which they exist. How are 
the various relations which make up the world of ex- 
perience distinguished from and connected with each 
other within a system ? This is the question to which 
it is the business of a criticism of categories to furnish 
an answer. Green's disparagement of the dialectical 
method shows that he does not feel the need of a critical 
investigation of the categories with a view to determine 
their value and meaning and their relations to one 
another. The categories of thought of different kinds 
and^ignifications cannot all be properly designated by 
the^single term _ c relation^ They are capable of being 
arranged in a scale of increasing complexity and value, 
and the lower is taken up into and completed in the 
higher. The aim of an idealistic philosophy is not 
fulfilled unless it is shown that whatever may be our 
first view of reality we must ultimately say of it that 
it is mind. From the most meagre conception of it, 
we are forced to move forward until we reach the final 
thought that it is spirit whose nature it is to be itself 
and not itself in one. The categories of thought are 


the stages through which we have to pass in this fon^ard 
movement, and their importance is determined by the 
degree of their proximity to the goal of it. 


Green's idealism provides the foundation on which 
his ethical theory is built. The animal organism 
through which the self-conditioning and self- distin- 
guishing mind implied in the existence of nature repro- 
duces itself in us is organic not merely to impressions 
but also to wants and the impulses for the satisfaction 
of them. As sensations are not to be confused with 
percepts, so the animal wants and impulses must not be 
mistaken for the consciousness of Wanted objects and 
the effort to realise them. When a self-conscious being, 
as distinguished from a mere animal, feels a want and 
has the impulse to satisfy it, he presents to himself the 
wanted object from which he distinguishes himself. 
Thus arises, in its most elementary form, the distinction 
between what is and what should be. The objects of 
knowledge are already real, but to the wanted object 
reality has to be given. The food and the eating of it 
which is wanted are not the same thing. It is true that 
without susceptibility to wants and impulses, conscious- 
ness of wanted Dbjects would not arise, but the latter 
is made possible by the supervention of the self upon 
animal wants. Human actions, that is to say, pre- 
suppose wanted objects which are their motives. This 
does not destroy the freedom of man as a moral being, 
for motives are not natural phenomena, but are con- 
stituted by the active being himself. The object which 
moves me to action is that which I present to myself as 
something in the attainment of which my satisfaction 
is to be found. It is always an idea of personal good. 

T. H. GREEN 37 

In tfeing determined to action by a motive, a man is 
determined t?y something which his own self- conscious- 
ness has constituted and is, therefore, self-determined. 
In this consists his freedom. There is no such thing 
as liberty of indifference or the power of unmotived 
choice between different motives. Both parties in the 
time-honoured controversy about free will must be 
judged to be in the wrong. The mistake of the deter- 
minist is to suppose that motives are natural phenomena 
external to the will and acting upon it from without. 
The mistake of the libertarian is to think that will is 
separate from motives and that free choice means choice 
without any motive. Both commit the same mistake 
of supposing that the motive and the act are two 
separate entities. But " the motive lies in the man 
himself " : it is the idea of his own personal good, and 
is, therefore, not other than his will. To identify one- 
self with a particular desire, to have a motive, is to 
will. The strongest desire, of course, determines the 
will, but it is such by reason of the self giving 
preference to it. 

Motive, no doubt, is the outcome of character and 
is largely conditioned by the circumstances in the midst 
of which one is placed. But character is the habit of 
will, and is therefore something which a man has formed 
for himself. It does not belong to but is the man. To 
say that character determines action is only to say that 
a man's conception of personal good, to the realisation 
of which his efforts are directed, depends upon what it 
has been in the past. Conduct cannot be independent 
of the past history of life, but " to make this history 
there has been necessary an action of the ego, which 
has no history, has not come to be, but which is the 
condition of our being conscious of any history or 


becoming." As for the circumstances, their power to 
influence motives arises solely through the reaction of 
the self on them. They affect action because the agent 
makes use of them for the purpose of carrying out his 
own end. The self presupposed in knowledge and 
action transcends all particular objects and cannot be 
determined by circumstances as one thing determines 
another. If we do not forget that both character and 
circumstances are conditioned by a self-distinguishing 
consciousness, the view that motive is the result of them 
is not inconsistent with freedom. 

Green maintains that on this view only can actions 
be imputed to the agent and remorse and self -reforma- 
tion become intelligible. " If a man's action did not 
represent his character but an arbitrary freak of some 
unaccountable power of unmotived willing, why should 
he be ashamed of it or reproach himself with it ? " The 
dependence of my present and future on my past would 
be incompatible with self- improvement only if in the 
past my action had been the outcome of natural forces 
and not been determined by an idea of personal good. 
Throughout the history of a man's life there is operative 
a self, a reproduction of the eternal self-consciousness 
through organic^ processes, which makes that history 
possible. This, of course, does not mean that the self 
is an entity other than particular thoughts, feelings and 
desires. Such a self is a false abstraction quite as much 
as thoughts, feelings and desires not referred to a self. 

In insisting that " what a man now is and does is 
the result of what he has been and done," Green seems 
to forget that the present must also vary from the past, 
if growth is to have any meaning and what is now done , 
is not to be a mere repetition in another form of what 
has already been done. It is true that conduct is the 

T, H. GREEN 39 

outcome of character, but the whole of character is not 
to be identified with what it is at any particular stage 
of its development. At the back of his finite nature 
there are the infinite potentialities of man, and these 
potentialities urge him on to realise himself in fresh 
and ever-varying ways, to seek to be what he is not 
and has never been. It is Green's own doctrine that 
man is at once finite and infinite from different points 
of view, but he seems to forget this in laying stress 
on the dependence of a human being for what he is 
to-day on what he was yesterday. In the case of a 
living being the past not only conditions but also grows 
into the present. 

If action without'a motive is impossible and if motive 
is, in all cases, the idea of personal good, what becomes 
of the distinction between the good will and the evil 
will? Green holds that in order to be in a position to 
understand the reason for this distinction, it is necessary 
to consider the nature of will and its relation to desire 
and intellect. Desire, intellect and will are not three 
independent faculties of the mind. They are inter- 
dependent forms in which one and the same self mani- 
fests itself. Desire, as distinguished from an animal 
impulse, implies the consciousness of the desired object 
from which the desiring self distinguishes itself. There 
is the subjective feeling of want; contrasted with it is 
the wanted object of which the mind is conscious as 
something on the attainment of which self-satisfaction 
is to be found, and, finally, there is the effort to realise 
what is wanted. Desire, without the consciousness of 
the object desired, is impossible. Green omits to 
mention in this connection that feeling also is involved 
in desire. I can desire a thing only if it is calculated 
to afford me satisfaction by removing some want. 


Pleasure may not be the object of desire, but What is 
desired must be pleasant. The action of ^elf- conscious- 
ness is further implied in the manner in which the 
desires of a human being mutually qualify each other. 
" We are never so exclusively possessed by the desire 
for any object as to be quite unaffected by the thought 
of other desired objects, of which we are conscious 
that the loss or gain would have a bearing on our 
happiness." This is so even when all effort seems to 
be concentrated on the satisfaction of a single desire. 
Each desire is always qualified by the thought of the 
satisfaction or frustration of other desires. In all his 
activities man seeks his own general well-being, but 
that well-being can be attained only through the satis- 
faction of particular desires. It is because of this that 
our desires are reduced to a system having " its bond 
of union in the single subject, which always carries 
with it the consciousness of objects that have been and 
may be desired into the consciousness of the object 
which at present is being desired." 

Desire and intellect are correlated with each other. 
Neither can be reduced to the other, nor can they be 
regarded as distinct faculties of the mind. The element 
common to them is that both involve the consciousness 
of opposition between the self and the world and the 
effort to overcome it. Desire is for some object which, 
in the first instance, exists only in idea and has got to 
be realised, and intellect seeks to realise its ideal of the 
unity of all things by tracing out relations between 
things which at first seem to be an unconnected and 
unintelligible manifold. This fundamental community 
between desire and understanding " we may properly^ 
indicate by calling our inner life, as determined by 
desires for objects, practical thought, while we call 

T. H. GREEN 41 

the activity of understanding speculative thought." 
Further, desire always accompanies understanding, and 
understanding, desire. It is impossible to try to know 
anything without desiring to know it. The goal of 
every kind of intellectual activity must be an object 
of desire. And in desiring anything we must know 
the conditions on which the fulfilment of the desire 
depends. Without the consciousness of its object and 
of the means which must be adopted if it is to be 
realised, desire would not be possible. 

Will seems to be capable of resisting desire and, 
therefore, different from it. Of several conflicting 
desires, it can apparently prefer one and reject others. 
But Green holds that the conflicting desires are, pro- 
perly speaking, not desires at all. Before the self 
identifies itself with any of them, they are mere solicita- 
tions of which it is conscious. The desire to which the 
self gives preference is wrongly called the strongest 
desire, for its relation to the self is different in kind 
from that of the rejected desires. Nor can it be main- 
tained that the chosen desire is no longer desire but 
will. The essential distinction is between the mere 
solicitations of desire and the desired object with which 
the self identifies itself, and to refuse to call the latter 
* desire ' is arbitrary. If we call only that * desire ' with 
which the self has identified itself, there is no difference 
between it and will on the inner side. 

Green's view of the relation between desire and will 
is somewhat confusing. If the adopted desire is will, 
what is choice and what is the activity by means of which 
effect is given to it? Is it not better, in accordance 
yrith usual practice, to call the solicitations ( desire' 
and the self's identification with a particular desire 
c choice, 5 reserving the term c will ' to denote the self- 


conscious process of carrying out the choice? 9 No 
doubt, Green says that the adoption of a desire or 
rather a solicitation is will on its inner side; but between 
will on its inner side only and will both on its inner 
and outer sides, there is a difference which should not 
be overlooked. Green's theory virtually obliterates all 
distinction between will and desire. 

Although intellect and will mutually imply each 
other, it must be remembered " that the understanding 
employed in the exercise of desire relates to the desired 
object and to the conditions of its realisation, while the 
desire involved in a process of thinking has for its object 
the completion of that process. 55 Between the practical 
and the speculative activity of the mind, therefore, there 
is a real difference, and if we call the former ' will 5 and 
the latter c intellect, 5 there is certainly an opposition 
between them. But this opposition is relative and not 
absolute. Underlying it and making it possible, there 
is the man himself who in willing understands and in 
understanding wills. 

The common feature of all acts of willing is that 
in them a self-conscious individual seeks to attain an 
object in which he finds satisfaction. Nothing can be 
done by us unless we think that in what is done our 
personal good lies. The form of all actions, good or 
bad, is therefore the same. The distinction between the 
good will and the bad will depends on the nature of 
the object willed. But hedonism denies this and main- 
tains that the only possible object of desire is pleasure. 
Whatever is done the object aimed at is always the 
gaining of pleasure or the avoidance of pain, and, there- t 
fore, there can be no intrinsic difference between 
motives. It is in respect of its consequences that one 
action differs morally from another. That action is right 

T. H. GREEN 43 

which produces more pleasure than pain. The plausi- 
bility of this theory which " offends the unsophisticated 
conscience " is due to a confusion. In the attainment 
of the object of desire in which self -satisfaction is 
sought, there is pleasure, but it is not the object of 
desire. The pleasure which follows the fulfilment of 
desire cannot be the exciting cause of it. Desire for 
an object may be strengthened by the contemplation of 
the pleasure arising from its satisfaction, but if it by 
itself is made the object of pursuit the chances of 
getting it are lost. The good is that which satisfies 
some desire and not abstract pleasure. Of course, 
pleasure is the consequence of satisfying desire, and 
therefore what is good is necessarily pleasant, but " its 
pleasantness depends on its goodness, not its goodness 
upon the pleasure it conveys." 

What then is the moral good or the true good? 
Green's answer is that it is " that which satisfies the 
desire of a moral agent or that in which a moral agent 
can find the satisfaction of himself which he necessarily 
seeks." There is a divine principle at work in man, 
for he is " a certain reproduction of itself on the part 
of the eternal mind." He is not merely the child of 
nature that at first sight he seems to be. From another 
point of view, he is one with the self -determining, self- 
distinguishing mind implied in the existence of the 
world. He therefore cannot remain satisfied with his 
actual present condition and inevitably seeks to be what 
he ideally is. Th^m&mjte in him impels Jiim to realise 
his potential nature. It is his vocation " to make him- 
s^lf "what he has the possibility of becoming, but actually 
is .not; and hence not merely like the plant or animal, 
undergoes a process of development, but seeks to, and 
does develop himself." If what is willed is the outcome 


of the effort after the better arising from the operation 
in us of our ideal nature, it is morally 'good. On the 
other hand, the will which is antagonistic to the realisa- 
tion of our capacities, which tends to keep us as we are 
or to lower us, is morally evil. The distinguishing 
feature of the moral life is " that it is governed by the 
consciousness of there being some perfection which has 
to be attained, some vocation which has to be fulfilled, 
some law which has to be obeyed, something absolutely 
desirable, whatever the individual may for the time 
desire; that it is in ministering to such an end that the 
agent seeks to satisfy himself" (Prolegomena to Ethics, 
ist ed., p. 184). What the ideal life in its perfection 
is, it is impossible for us to say, but the tacit conviction 
that it is real makes moral progress possible, and from 
reflection on what the human spirit has already achieved 
we may know in what direction we must move in order 
to attain it. 

The presupposition of the moral life, that which 
makes it possible, we have seen, is the operation in 
man of a divine principle. Because the one divine mind 
is the source of his being, his true good consists in 
seeking to satisfy himself by realising his inherent 
capabilities. But how does the eternal mind progres- 
sively manifest itself in man ? Does it realise itself in 
individuals or only in the human race ? Are men ends 
in themselves or only means to the furtherance of the 
end of humanity? The answer must be that only in 
persons can the divine principle be regarded as realising 
itself. It is because we ourselves are organising centres 
of experience that we can think of the world as t|je 
object of a single mind, and the impossibility of 
reducing the self to anything else is the reason why we 
must think of it as the expression of the mind for which 

T. H. GREEN 45 

the universe exists. To suppose that God can realise 
Himself otherwise than in person is, therefore, impos- 
sible. It is quite true that apart from the community, 
an individual is an abstraction, but it is equally true 
that without persons a community is nothing. Progress 
of humanity has no meaning " unless it means a pro- 
gress of personal character and to personal character 
a progress of which feeling, thinking and willing sub- 
jects are the agents and sustainers, and of which each 
step is a fuller realisation of the capacities of such sub- 
jects." The idea of human progress, with which our 
actual experience of the world is not easily reconcilable, 
implies that in the eternal mind the capacities gradually 
realised in us in tirrie is eternally realised, and " that 
the end of the process should be a real fulfilment of 
the capacities presupposed by the process." For the 
developing subject, the ideal of perfection is something 
to be attained, but there would be no meaning in saying 
that in possibility it is, unless the end of its develop- 
ment really existed " not merely for, but in or as a self- 
conscious subject." Further, development is not a mere 
process to which there is no end, but must be relative 
to an eternal state of perfection in which self-conpous 
personality, the subject of development, is not extin- 
guished but preserved and is not treated only as a means. 
In thus laying stress on personality one, however, must 
not forget that the self-realisation of individuals is 
possible only in society. It is possible for us to make 
progress towards the attainment of our common end 
only in so far as we co-operate with each other and bear 
each other's burden. Men are members one of another, 
and each serves himself as he serves others. The self 
tKat is sought to be realised in moral life is not any 
isolated, atomistic self but the universal self of which 


the social organisation is the outer form. The necessary 
condition of the development of personality is society, 
and the function of society is to promote the develop- 
ment of persons. This does not mean that all persons 
must be developed in the same way. There is, for 
example, the distinction between the sexes. " As there 
is a necessary difference between their functions, there 
must be a corresponding difference between the modes 
in which the personality of men and women is 
developed." Again, on account of the unequal capacities 
and endowments of men, there must be distinctions of 
social rank and power. But through these very differ- 
ences it is possible to attain a richer and fuller corporate 
life, provided that the one thing nbedful is not wanting, 
viz. the spirit of devotion to the highest good. 

The moral ideal, in a being who has impulses that 
draw him away from it, takes the form of what Kant 
calls the categorical imperative. It commands us to 
obey the moral law unconditionally, to do the duties 
through the performance of which man has so far 
advanced along the path of self -improvement. But 
particular duties are always relative to special conditions 
and circumstances, and if these change materially, they 
may cease to be absolutely binding and become liable 
to exceptions.- But any breach of them is justifiable 
only if it be required for a fuller realisation of the 
moral ideal and not for the sake of the pleasure of 
any particular individual. 

The self as completely realised is the end of morality, 
and to the attainment of this end all our efforts as moral 
beings are ultimately directed. But the self, Green 
insists, is essentially social and the good is the common 
good. The fact that one infinite being is manifested 
in all men constitutes an immanent bond of.iinion 

T. H. GREEN 47 

begwggn them. No one, therefore, can realise himself 
unless he makes others his partners. To recognise others 
as persons and to be recognised by them as such, to 
contribute, each in his own way, to the furtherance of 
an end which is the end of one and all, is of the very 
essence of morality. No one can travel alone along the 
path to perfection. But if a social life based on the idea 
of a common good is to be lived, everyone must have 
a definite place in the social organism and his relations 
to others must be specifically determined. The usages, 
customs, laws and institutions in which the idea of a 
supreme good expresses itself determine the stations of 
men in society. Obedience to laws, loyalty to estab- 
lished institutions, means conformity to the conditions 
on which the realisation of a common good depends. 
The injunctions of society, rightly viewed, are the 
injunctions of my own higher self; for they represent 
the necessary means without which what I conceive to 
be the highest good, the good of myself and of my 
fellow beings, cannot be attained. Reason is " the 
capability in man of seeking an absolute good and of 
conceiving this good as common to others with him- 
self," and is, therefore, the source of the laws and 
customs which keep society together. The germ of 
social consciousness, not to be confused with mere 
animal sympathy, must have been present in any primi- 
tive community from which the civilised society of 
to-day may be shown to have been developed. 

The_development of morality implies, in the first 
place, the gradual extension of the area of the common 
good^ until it covers the whole of the human race. In 
eVly communities, the recognised duties are only of 
men to each other within the same circumscribed group. 
A Jew, for example, has no obligation to a Gentile, nor 


a Greek to a barbarian. But the modern cultivated 
person recognises, in theory at least, that the duty of 
man is to man. This duty cannot be legally enforced, 
but all the same the good man feels that it is as binding 
on him as his duty to his immediate neighbour. It 
cannot therefore be regarded as arising out of selfish 
considerations. The humanitarian idea has its origin 
in the same reason which is involved in the simplest 
form of the idea of the common good. Members of 
a particular community are held together by the bond 
of a common ideal to which the consciousness of their 
potential capacities gives rise and for the realisation of 
which they, each in his own way, labour. It involves 
the imposition of restraint on their selfish propensities. 
The recognition of the brotherhood of man is only a 
fuller expression of this spirit of fellowship. It implies 
a quickening of the sense of justice. The righteous 
man, in whose estimation all human beings, as rational, 
are equal, does not seek his own good by means which 
interfere with the good of others. He judges himself 
by the same standard by which he judges others. 
Bentham's formula, "every one should count for one 
and no one for more than one," expresses this attitude 
of mind. It has no necessary connection with hedonism. 
But the idea finds better expression in Kant's maxim. 
"Act so as to treat humanity, whether in your own 
person or in that of others, always as an end, never 
merely as a means." Its merit lies in laying stress on 
the absolute value of man. 

In the second place, along with the extension of the 
area of the good, there goes the concurrent process of 
an increasing determination of the idea of the gooS. 
Owing to the presence in man of a universal principle, 
the attainment of no particular object of desire can 

T. H. GREEN 49 

give him permanent satisfaction. He, no doubt, realises 
himself through the satisfaction of particular desires, 
but what he seeks is something abiding which will per- 
manently satisfy him, and the idea of it is the standard 
by which the value of particular achievements is judged. 
It is not the idea of the largest sum of pleasures. No 
such sum is possible, for as we pass from one pleasure 
to another, it vanishes and the pleasures enjoyed in 
succession cannot, consequently, be added up. A sum 
of pleasures is not a pleasure but only a concept. The 
view that the good is the greatest sum of pleasures 
arises from the mistaken identification of the pleasure 
arising from the satisfaction of a desire with the object 
of that desire. TKe true good is that which widens 
and deepens the life of a man, and, therefore, even in 
its more elementary form, it must be a social good. The 
well-being of a family is a good of this sort. In devot- 
ing himself to it an individual rises above his particular 
self and identifies himself with something which is his 
own larger and more durable self. The universality of 
man's nature is the source of the idea of a permanent 
good which is not private to anyone but social, and of 
which the distinction of good for self and good for 
others forms no part. It is embodied in modes of life 
and arrangements of society in the maintenance and 
furtherance of which everyone conceives his true good 
to consist and for the sake of which he is ready to resist 
the attractions of pleasure. "It is only as living in a 
community, as sharing the life of others, as incorporated 
in the continuous being of a family or nation, of a state 
or church that [a man] can sustain himself in that 
thought of his own permanence to which the thought 
of permanent well-being is correlative." The lowest 
form of this interest in a common well-being is care 

H.N.-H, D 


for the material needs of a family. Out of this humble 
origin the humanitarian ideal of the good of all men 
is gradually developed. In the former the latter is 
implicit. The common root of both is the idea of a 
social good in realising which an individual has to 
identify himself with others. In the activities directed 
to the end of providing for the material requirements 
of a family there is already at work a principle of which 
the full development is to be found in the co-operative 
life of virtue lived by men as members of the same 
spiritual community. The development of the moral 
ideal means a gradual widening of the circle of men 
who recognise mutual obligations and a progressive 
determination of the content of the moral end, the 
transition from the belief that our good lies in the pos- 
session of external things to the belief that the only 
true good is to be good. " The one process is com- 
plementary to the other, because the only good in 
the pursuit of which there can be no competition of 
interests, the only good which is really common to all 
who may pursue it, is that which consists in the universal 
will to be good in the settled disposition on each man's 
part to make the most and best of humanity in his own 
person and in the person of others. The conviction of 
a community of good for all men can never be really 
harmonised with our notions of what is good, so long 
as anything else than self-devotion to an ideal of mutual 
service is the end by reference to which those notions 
are formed" (Prolegomena to Ethics, ist ed., p. 262). 

The gradual specialisation of the idea of the true 
good finds expression in the accepted standards of 
virtues and duties. From the idea that human well-- 
being consists in the possession of external things, men, 
by degrees, have advanced to the notion that their real 

T. H. GREEN 51 

good lies in a " fulfilment of human capabilities from 
within, not an Accession of good things from without." 
This change of ideal has reacted on the conception of 
social merit. Duties and virtues are estimated not with 
reference to their outward consequences, but to their 
ultimate end, viz. perfection of character. It gradually 
comes to be recognised that such habits of will are 
virtuous as tend to promote human development, to 
make individuals and the society of which they are 
members more perfect. When the age of philosophical 
reflection comes, an endeavour is made to define the 
main ends of human activity and to reduce them to a 
unity. From Socrates and his followers has come the 
theory of virtues and duties which has profoundly 
influenced modern Europe. They endeavoured to show 
that the different virtues are interdependent forms of 
one and the same supreme virtue, the will to be good. 
The Greek philosophers, of course, did not invent the 
virtues, but only made explicit the principles of conduct 
by which the good citizen had all along been guided. 
The practical importance of their work was immense. 
For virtuous activities performed with a clear conscious- 
ness of the end to which they are directed are of a higher 
order than instinctively good acts. The conception of 
the good which we have inherited from the Greek philo- 
sophers has not ceased to be valid. " When we come to 
ask ourselves what are the essential forms in which, how- 
ever otherwise modified, the will for true good (which 
is the will to be good) must appear, our answer follows 
the outlines of the Greek classification of the virtues. 
It is the will to know what is true, to make what is 
beautiful, to endure pain and fear, to resist the allure- 
ments of pleasure (i.e. to be brave and temperate), if 
not, as the Greek would have said, in the service of the 


state, yet in the interest of some form of human society; 
to take for oneself, to give to others, of those things 
which admit of being given and taken, not what one 
is inclined to but what is due " (Prolegomena to Ethics, 
ist ed., p. 276). 

The difference between the Greek and the modern 
standards of virtue lies mainly in this, that for us the 
end has become more comprehensive and, as a conse- 
quence, the requirements of the good life have come 
to be more numerous and more exacting. This will be 
evident if we compare modern ideas about courage and 
temperance with those of Aristotle. By 'fortitude' 
Aristotle understands the readiness of the soldier to die 
in battle for his country. At first sight, the identity 
between this virtue and that displayed by the philan- 
thropist in the service of the weak and the helpless, 
without being noticed and without reward, is by no 
means apparent; but, on reflection, we find that in both 
cases the temper of mind is, in principle, the same. 
The warrior as well as the philanthropist devote them- 
selves to a worthy end, and, in the effort to attain it, 
resist pain and fear. The difference is that while the 
soldier's field of activity is narrow and circumscribed 
and his duty only of a particular kind, the benevolent 
worker dedicates-his life to the service, in innumerable 
ways, of men who are lowly and humble and do not 
count in the estimation of the great, and towards whom 
the Greeks would have recognised no duties whatever. 

Temperance is the name given by Aristotle to the 
virtue which finds expression in the control over animal 
appetites. In the mere renunciation of the pleasures 
incidental to the satisfaction of animal appetites there 
is no merit; but such renunciation is demanded by the 
requirements of the life of the good citizen. If a man 

T. H. GREEN 53 

is to render service to the state, if he is to be an efficient 
member of society, his attention and will must not be 
too much occupied by desire for pleasure. It is the 
interest in and devotion to something higher than the 
private good of the individual and not the renunciation 
of pleasures, unless it is an indication of such interest, 
that has moral value. In principle, therefore, the virtue 
of temperance, as Aristotle understood it, is the same 
as the more comprehensive modern virtue of self-denial. 
It involves the foregoing of pleasures of every kind 
and not merely those of animal appetite in the ser- 
vice of humanity. The self-sacrificing Christian citizen 
acknowledges duties to the whole of mankind and 
not exclusively to tlie narrow community to which he 
immediately belongs, and, in the effort to uplift the 
mass of depressed men, practises self-denial on a scale 
not contemplated in ancient times. A fuller realisation of 
human nature was the ideal of the Greeks for the privi- 
leged few only, and it was to be attained through the 
exclusion of the unprivileged multitude. But the 
Christian conception of the brotherhood of man has led 
to the removal of all artificial distinctions between man 
and man, and, in consequence, the ideal sought to be 
realised at the present day is the full development of 
the personality of every human being. Of the pursuit 
of this ideal, a life of constant self-sacrifice appears to 
be a necessary condition. While, therefore, self-denial 
is, in essence, the same as the Aristotelian virtue of 
temperance, it is practised in a wider sphere and in the 
promotion of an ideal far more comprehensive than that 
of the Greeks. 

The Platonic or Aristotelian conception of virtue as 
consisting in the will to be good, a will directed to 
the perfection of human nature, is in substance valid 


for all time. Its defect lies in its concrete application. 
The idea of human brotherhood had no meaning 
then, and the scope of the virtues was, in con- 
sequence, extremely limited. But in the modern world, 
all men are regarded as equal and owing mutual service 
to each other. Our social requirements therefore are 
more varied and more comprehensive. The work of 
the philosophers together with the effects of Roman 
conquest and the influence of Christianity has prepared 
the way for the idea of the brotherhood of man. Under 
the influence of this idea, a the good has come to be 
conceived with increasing clearness not as anything 
which one man or set of men can gain or enjoy to 
the exclusion of others, but as a spiritual activity in 
which all may partake, and in which all must partake, 
if it is to amount to a full realisation of the faculties 
of the human soul." 

In order to be completely good, it is not enough 
that an action should produce desirable consequences; 
it must also be done from the best of motives. The 
effect to be taken into consideration is not the amount 
of pleasure produced but the extent to which the end 
of human perfection is furthered. That alone is good 
in the full sense which is done with the object of 
contributing to "the good of man and does actually 
tend to produce such a consequence. But it is not 
easy to ascertain the motives of men, and in judging 
the actions of others we have often to confine ourselves 
to the consideration of their results only. In estimating 
the value of our own deeds, however, it is our duty 
to compare the motives from which they arise with 
the true ideal of virtue and not to be satisfied with 
anything done of which that ideal is not the deter- 
mining principle. "The comparison of our own 

T. H, GREEN $$ 

practice, as we know it on the inner side in relation 
to the motives and character which it expresses, with 
an ideal of virtue, is the spring from which morality 
perpetually renews its life." Faithfulness to the ideal 
of goodness, unceasing effort to make our conduct 
conform to it, raises society as well as the individual 
to a higher plane. The origin of current moral prac- 
tices is to be attributed to the working of the same 
conscientious spirit in the past. To the good man 
who strives constantly to act from the highest motives, 
whose one solicitude is to be good and help others to 
be good, more excellent ways of doing what is right 
than the customary ones will continually suggest them- 
selves. " He is like the judge who is perpetually 
making new law in ostensibly interpreting the old, 
He extracts the higher meaning out of the recognised 
social code, giving reality to some requirements which 
it has hitherto only contained potentially." And this 
spirit of devotion to the ideal, though it does not by 
itself give us knowledge of the probable results of 
actions, " will turn the products of intellectual en- 
lightenment and scientific discovery, as they come, to 
account in the way of contribution to human perfec- 
tion." Apart from all this conscientiousness, a life of 
moral aspirations, has an intrinsic value, not derived 
from any of its consequences. 

A theory of the moral ideal, however true, cannot 
take the place of conscientiousness. "No philosopher 
can supply a moral dynamic." Proper guidance in the 
regulation of conduct can come only from sincere and 
faithful devotion to what is good and noble. The 
service which moral philosophy renders is mainly 
negative. It does not teach us what to do, but how 
to avoid perplexities arising from conflict of rules 


supposed to be of universal application or the perils 
of moral scepticism resulting from inadequate theories. 
Moral ideas are often clothed in imaginative forms, 
and when reflection shows that these forms, taken 
literally, are indefensible, the truths which they sym- 
bolise are apt to be thrown away along with them. 
Philosophy distinguishes the substance from the form, 
the kernel from the husk, and points out that the 
validity of the ideas is not affected by the insufficiency 
of the forms in which they find expression. In cases 
of genuine perplexity of conscience in which moral 
laws of equal validity seem to be in conflict, it shows 
that no particular rule, being relative to special 
conditions and circumstances, can be unconditionally 
binding. The one fundamental law is that we should 
seek to be actually what we ideally are, and whatever 
mode of action is enjoined by this law in a given 
situation is the rule of action in that situation. In a 
particular set of circumstances, there can only be one 
duty, and a conflict of duties, therefore, is impossible. 
What that duty is we, as a rule, learn from conven- 
tional morality. It becomes unavailing only when a 
situation arises in which existing laws of conduct do 
not apply or an ideal higher than that embodied in 
the established institutions and forms of life becomes 
operative in one's mind. 

The keynote of Green's ethical theory is that man 
is what he is by virtue of the self-communication to 
him of an infinite spirit, that such self -communication 
is the source of the idea of a perfect life to the realisa- 
tion of which the whole energies of a good man are 
devoted, and that it is impossible to make progress 
towards the attainment of such a life without the 
identification of each with all and all with each from 

T. H. GREEN 57 

which the recognition of particular duties and the spirit 
to discharge them faithfully arise. 


" The lectures on the Principles of Political Obli- 
gation," as Nettleship says, " form in some degree an 
illustrative commentary on the Prolegomena to Ethics" 
In this great work on political philosophy, Green's 
Object is to inquire into the nature of the moral 
purpose served by the laws defining the rights and 
duties of men which the state enforces. The main 
conclusion reached is that the laws and institutions of 
society are justified to the extent to which they con- 
tribute to the realisation and exercise of the moral 
capacities of its membersT) The two principles to be 
kept in view for the criticism of law are that only 
outward acts can be matter of obligation and that the 
standard by which laws are to be judged is the moral 
end which it should be their aim to further. An act, 
in order to be moral, must, of course, be done from 
the best of motives, but it is not the function of the 
state to look into the motives of men. Its business 
is to enforce and forbid actions the performance or 
non-performance of which is necessary to the realisation 
of the moral end of society. Law can consider only 
the intention of an action. Its ideal is to remove 
obstacles to and create conditions favourable for the 
performance of actions directed to the realisation of 
the moral end. Such actions, however, must be spon- 
taneous, and cannot be legally enjoined. No one can 
be made moral by an act of parliament. Only the 
external act can be enforced. A merely legal act is 
not moral, but without being legal or what ought to 
be legal, it cannot be moral, unless any breach of law 


is in the interest of morality itself. Tjie moral good 
is essentially a common good, and it can be realised 
only in so far as men live a life of mutual helpfulness 
and co-operation as members of some political society. 
The duty of the state is to " maintain conditions of 
life in which morality shall be possible," and the right 
of its citizens is to be free not to do what they like 
but to exercise their powers in order to contribute to 
the common good. " A right is a power claimed and 
recognised as contributory to a common good." The 
rights of men are therefore correlative to their one 
fundamental duty of seeking to realise the common 
good, and have no existence apart from it. They arise 
from their membership of the state. " No one can 
have a right except (i) as a member of society and 
(2) of a society in which some common good is recog- 
nised by the members of the society as their own ideal 
good, as that which should be for each of them " 
(Works > Vol. II., p. 350). The view, therefore, that 
men in an unsocial state possessed certain c natural 
rights, 5 for the secure enjoyment of as many of them 
as possible they entered into a contract to form society, 
is fundamentally erroneous. " Natural right as a right 
in a state of nature which is not a state of society is 
a contradiction." There can be no right without a 
consciousness of common interest on the part of 
members of a society. Without this there might be 
certain powers on the part of individuals, but no 
recognition of these powers by others as powers of 
which they allow the exercise, nor any claim to such 
recognition; and without this recognition or claim tq 
recognition there can be no right " (Works ^ Vol. II., 
p. 354). The result of the notion that individuals had 
rights in a state of nature " is seen in the inveterate 

T. H. GREEN 59 

irreverence of .the individual towards the state, in the 
assumption that he has rights against society irrespec- 
tively of his fulfilment of any duties to society, that 
' all powers that be y are restraints upon his natural 
freedom which he mqy rightly defy as far as he safely 
can" (Ibid. p. 373) v 

\The state is essentially a product of self-conscious- 
ness. In its laws and institutions the collective mind 
and will of the people is embodied. It is within and 
as members of it that individuals can recognise and 
respect each other's rights. These rights are the powers 
without the exercise of which it is not possible for us 
to promote the common good. The justification of 
them is that only through the use of the powers secured 
in them man, as a moral being, can fulfil his vocation. 
As the organs of a living body can discharge the 
functions necessary for the continuance of life only as 
constituent elements of it, so, as citizens of the state 
alone, is it possible for human beings to possess the 
rights of which the exercise is necessary for the attain- 
ment of the moral end. The state, therefore, is the 
presupposition of the possibility of individuals living 
as moral beings. It is not a power set over against 
the individuals whom it controls from without. Man . 
versus, the state is as absurd a conception as the hand 
versus the body. The state is the organised unity of 
self-conscious persons apart from which they have 
neither occupations nor rights?), 

The answer to the question, why should I submit 
to the power of the state? is, therefore, this, that in 
pbeying the laws enforced by the state I only conform 
to the necessary conditions of my living the life of 
a rational being. The institutions by which a man's 
conduct is regulated express the idea of a common 


good; in them the general will takes body and form. 
It is the presence of this idea in him and not fear 
that makes him acknowledge their authority over him. 
-JVill, not force, is_the basis of the state. Force, no 
doubt, is a necessary element of sovereignty. Its use 
is necessary for the repression of those in whom regard 
for the common weal is wanting, and also, occasionally, 
for the maintenance of law and order. But it, by itself, 
is not the bond of society. What is necessary to the 
existence of a political society is " not indeed that every 
one subject to the laws should take part in voting them, 
still less that he should consent to their application to 
himself, but that it should represent the idea of common 
good which each member of society can make his own 
so far as he is rational." 

Political subjection is to be distinguished from that 
of the slave, because it secures rights to the subject 
and is based upon his recognition that it is for his 
own highest good. It and morality have a common 
source which is " the rational recognition by certain 
human beings it may be by children of the same 
parent of a common well-being which is their well- 
being and which they conceive as their well-being 
whether at any moment any one of them is inclined 
to it or not." JSecause of this common source both 
morality and political subjection imply resistance to 
inclinations opposed to what reason conceives as an 
adequate good. 

But, it may be asked, is it not an unwarrantable 
assumption that the existence of the state depends on 
the will of the subjects? Of how many men can it 
be said that their perception of the fact that the state 
furthers the common good is the reason of their 
allegiance to it? Most of us obey the injunctions of 

T. H. GREEN 61 

the state because we cannot help it. It is true that the 
abstract idea of a common good does not regulate 
the conduct of the bulk of men. They are guided by 
the conventional rules of life and instinctively recog- 
nise that the claims which they put forward for them- 
selves are conditional upon their recognition of the 
similar claims of others. But it is through the discharge 
of the obligations of daily life that the common good 
is realised. The knowledge that the conditions of a 
decent and reputable life are secured to him by the 
authority of the state is sufficient to make a man 
loyal to it; but something more, Green thinks, is 
necessary if he is to be an intelligent patriot as well. 
He must actively participate in the work of the state 
and have a hand in making the laws which he obeys. 

It cannot be denied that the founders and organisers 
of states have often been unscrupulous and selfish men 
and_ have not hesitated to make use of questionable 
means to carry out their ends. But they have succeeded 
not because of their selfishness but through the associ- 
ation of an ideal motive with it. Their individual 
deficiencies and peculiarities have played but a small 
part in the result achieved by them. Their success 
was due to " their fitness to act as organs of impulses 
and ideas which had previously gained a hold on some 
society of men and for the realisation of which the 
means and conditions had been preparing quite apart 
from the action of those who became the most noticeable 
instruments of their realisation." 

Because a supreme coercive power is essential to the 
existence of a state, it has been wrongly supposed that 
it is based on force. The effectiveness of force, 
however, is due not to its use simply as such, but 
"according to law written or customary and for the 


maintenance of rights." The name c state ' is best 
given to a society which has such a system of law 
and a supreme power to uphold it. It is not a mere 
collection of individuals under a sovereign, but an 
organised whole of men who have a common mind 
and a common purpose and exercise powers secured 
to them in furtherance of what is conceived to be a 
common well-being. It " presupposes other forms of 
community with the rights that arise out of them 
and only exists as sustaining, securing and completing 
them." The development of it takes place through 
the assimilation of fresh societies and the consequent 
widening of the range of common interests and the 
creation of new rights. Force can be said to have 
contributed to the formation of states only in so far 
as its use has been necessary for the maintenance of 

Rights belong to an individual related to other 
individuals within the state. They are possessed by 
them on condition of their recognising each other as 
free human beings capable of self-realisation. An 
individual isolated from society, if such isolation were 
possible, would have no rights whatever. He can claim 
to exercise his powers provided that he recognises the 
like claims of others as members of the same com- 
munity. " In analysing the nature of any right we 
may conveniently look at it on two sides and consider 
it as on the one hand a claim of the individual, arising 
out of his rational nature, to the free exercise of some 
faculty; on the other hand as a concession of that 
power by society, a power given by it to the individual 
of putting the claim in force " (Works , Vol. II., p. 430). 
These, however, are only distinguishable sides of one 
and the same thing and have no separate existence. 

T. H. GREEN 63 

" It is only a man's consciousness of having an object 
in common with others, a well-being which is con- 
sciously his in being theirs and theirs in being his 
only the fact that they are recognised by him and 
he by them as having this object that gives them the 
claim described " (Ibid. p. 450). No citizen, therefore, 
has any right to act otherwise than as a member of 
the state. " The individual has no rights founded on 
any right to do as he likes." 

Are we then to say that opposition to the state is 
never defensible? Must we always obey its laws, no 
matter how unjust they may be? The general prin- 
ciple to be borne in mind in answering the question 
is that nothing should be done which upsets the social 
order on which the existence of rights depends. An 
individual who feels that some existing law is unjusti- 
fiable must, of course, do all he can to get it amended 
or repealed by constitutional methods; but, until this 
is done, his duty is to conform to it. In cases, however, 
where repeal by legal means is impossible, resistance 
may sometimes become a duty. But such resistance 
must be for the sake of the common good which the 
public conscience can appreciate, and never in the 
interest of any particular section of the community. 
He who would offer resistance to the state must con- 
sider whether, as a consequence of it, there is any 
prospect of the state being improved without being 
subverted and whether its overthrow will mean anarchy. 
Only in a state so hopelessly bad that its improvement 
is impossible can rebellion be ever a duty. Nothing 
calculated to undermine the law-abiding habits of men 
ought^jto be light-heartedly undertaken. 

Rights depend on the social nature of man. The 
state " is a form which society takes in order to main- 


tain them." Though there are rights yhich come into 
being only with the organisation of the state, all rights 
are not of this kind. They presuppose society, of 
course, but may exist in the absence of a state. The 
right to life and liberty is one of such rights. Its 
foundation is " capacity on the part of the subject for 
membership of a society, for determination of the will, 
and through it of the bodily organisation, by the 
conception of a well-being as common to self with 
others.' 5 This right, though it belongs to man as man, 
was at first recognised only within the limits of a 
particular society. Under the influence of the Roman 
law, Stoicism and the Christian doctrine of the brother- 
hood of man all arbitrary limitations have been gradu- 
ally removed and the right of every man to free life 
recognised. But there is still very little recognition 
of what it involves. A man is free not to do what 
he likes but only to fulfil some function in the social 
organism, to contribute something to the common 
good. The corollary to the recognition of the right 
of every human being to life and liberty is to make 
it possible for him to render service to humanity, to 
further an end which is as much his as of his fellows. 
The right to life and liberty is annulled in war, and, 
for this reason, -it is an evil. But war is not murder, 
of which the essence is to kill with malice against the 
person killed in order to gain some private advantage. 
Still it is a violation of the right of life, and the pro- 
moters of it are wrongdoers to humanity. It may be 
argued that war is sometimes the only possible means 
of preserving the integrity and existence of a state, 
and when this is so the right to life of its citizens is 
overridden by the paramount duty of maintaining the 
necessary conditions of a good and dignified life. But 

T. H. GREEN 65 

although the | state waging a defensive war may be 
exculpated from blame, the guilt of it remains and is 
only transferred to those who are really responsible for 
it. That such a means of maintaining national freedom 
should be necessary only shows how low the moral 
condition of mankind is. Wars arise not because 
sovereign states exist, but because they are not con- 
stituted as they should be. " The state is an institu- 
tion in which all rights are harmoniously maintained, 
in which all the capacities that give rise to rights have 
free play given to them." In so far as a state is true 
to its end, nothing done by it in its own interests 
can be antagonistic to the genuine interests of other 
states. "There is no such thing as an inevitable^ 
contest between states." The more states are so organ- 
ised as to be fitted to fulfil their ends, the greater, as 
a consequence of this, the connection of men of 
different nations is with one another, the better is the 
prospect of the abolition of war. It may be that a 
spirit of patriotism and self-sacrifice is called forth by 
war. But " till all the methods have been exhausted 
by which nature can be brought into the service of 
men, till society is so organised that every one's 
capacities have free scope for their development, there 
is no need to resort to war for a field in which 
patriotism may display itself." 

The right of life and liberty is also infringed by 
punishment. Its justification depends upon the fact that 
the right of men to live and work in a community, 
arising from their capacity to realise themselves by con- 
tributing to the social good, needs to be protected 
against aggression. Punishment, therefore, is retribu- 
tive in the sense that it is the reaction of society against 
a wrong done to it through the violation of the rights 

H.N.-H. E 


of its constituent members. But it is ^so preventive 
and reformatory. In order to be just, punishment must 
be for the maintenance of genuine rights and the person 
punished must know what they are. When these con- 
ditions are fulfilled, it will be seen to be the recoil on 
the criminal of his own deed. It is also intended to 
prevent the violation of rights through the association 
of terror with it in the public mind. The amount of 
it, however, must be such as is really necessary for the 
prevention of crime, and the system of rights to be 
maintained must be just. Finally, punishment should, 
in addition to its retributive and preventive functions, 
be reformatory as well. By this it is not meant that the 
state should seek to improve the moral character of the 
criminal, which is beyond its power, but that, as a means 
to the protection of rights, his recovery from criminal 
habits should be kept in view. It should not be 
forgotten that the criminal, except in rare cases, does 
not become permanently incapable of rights, and punish- 
ment must be calculated to make him fitted for the 
resumption of them. 

The sacredness of human life is getting increasing 
recognition. It is generally agreed in these days that 
man's right to a free life should not be interfered with. 
The raison d'etre of this right, however, is the capacity 
of men to be determined in their actions by the idea 
of a common good, and it is, therefore, not reasonable 
that so little should be done to make the positive 
realisation of this capacity possible. But, it being a 
moral capacity, the development of it cannot be effected 
by means of legally enforced actions. The end can be 
achieved only if men act spontaneously under the 
influence of social interests. All that the state can do 
is to remove obstacles to the formation of habits of 

T. H. GREEN 67 

good citizensHip. But in this direction it is possible for 
it to do much more than it has hitherto attempted. 

If, as Green says, the state is an organisation whose 
end is the fullest possible development of its citizens, 
is it not putting an arbitrary limit to its action to say 
that it must be only for the purpose of removing 
obstacles? Much of what would be described as 
socialistic legislation he defends on the ground that it 
is necessary for the creation of conditions favourable 
for a free moral life, but he opposes " any direct en- 
forcement of the outward conduct, which ought to 
follow from social interests, by means of threatened 
penalties." Is the assumption correct that what is legally 
enforced cannot be spontaneously done? The good 
man freely fulfils the duties of his station, no matter 
whether the laws of the state enjoin them or not. So 
far as he is concerned the element of compulsion does 
not exist. If a state requires its citizens to serve in the 
army, it does not follow that they cannot spontaneously 
and cheerfully render the necessary military service. 
Law_and liberty are, not opposed to each other. What 
is opposed to law is licence."" Rational laws are the 
outward embodiment of freedom, and in being deter- 
mined by them an individual is determined by his own 
inner end. The only proper limit to the action of the 
state is that which is prescribed by its own end. It is 
justified in legally enforcing whatever is necessary for 
the realisation of the capacities of its citizens and not 
anything else. The truth seems to be that in spite 
of his being the first British thinker who naturalised 
i f n England the political conceptions of Aristotle and 
Hegel, Green was still too much under the influence 
of the individualism of his time. 

Nevertheless, Green's political theory contains the 


most effective antidote to individualism. | The keynote 
of it is that individuals and their rights are meaning- 
less abstractions apart from the whole to which they 
belong. Rights are powers secured to men in order 
that they may be exercised for the furtherance of a 
social good. They are the recognised means of doing 
duty to society. The one essential right of man, there- 
fore, is to be a good man. For well nigh a century 
and a half the world has been hearing only of the rights 
of man. That they arise out of his duties to his com- 
munity is the great truth on which Green lays stress. 
Forgetfulness of this truth results in the " inveterate 
irreverence of the individual towards the state." The 
true end of social and political reform is to make the 
performance of duties through the exercise of rights 
easier and not to gain the paradise of rights only and 
no duties. 

With the right of life the right of property is closely 
Connected. Property is the^mslr'ument of life and is 
the outcome of the appropriation of things by a 
permanent self demanding free expression. That into 
which a man puts his will becomes his property. Its 
existence depends upon appropriation and the recog- 
nition of that appropriation by others. Men banded 
together for the furtherance of interests recognised as 
common, and acknowledging each other as free human 
beings by means of their activities that contribute to 
a common well-being, become creators of property. It 
is, therefore, an ethical institution. "As a permanent 
apparatus for carrying out a plan of life, for expressing 
ideas of what is beautiful or giving effect to benevolent 
wishes," its possession is the necessary condition of 
attaining a moral life. As men have very unequal 
powers of conquering nature, as their capacities are 

T. H. GREEN 69 

different, property is bound to be unequal. The dif- 
ference between rich and poor is, therefore, an irremov- 
able difference, and its existence is not a valid reason 
for abolishing, private property. It is only when the 
freedom to acquire property is so exercised that it inter- 
feres with the like freedom of others that it becomes 
unjustifiable. There is no reason whatever to think 
that the increased wealth of one man means the 
diminished wealth of another. As wealth is capable of 
indefinite increase, it is not necessary that in order to 
add to one's share of it something should be taken from 
that of another. The only exception is land. The 
quantity of it being limited, its exclusive possession by 
a few may interfere with the right of men to use it for 
the satisfaction of their wants. The existence of an 
impoverished proletariat is not due to the institution 
of property but to various remediable defects connected 
with its working. It is the duty of the state to see 
to it that none exercises the right of property in such 
a way as to create conditions unfavourable for the 
development of moral personality. ^ 

The institution of family life, like the acquisition 
of property, is due to man's effort to actualise his pos- 
sibilities. It implies that " in the conception of his own 
good to which a man seeks to give reality there is 
included a conception of the well-being of others, con- 
nected with him by sexual relations or by relations 
which arise out of this." The formation of a house- 
hold is not possible without the free consent of husband 
and wife to be one person, to merge their isolated per- 
sonality in a common unity. They, in consequence of 
this, have reciprocal claims on each other. Marriage, 
therefore, must be monogamous. The right of husband 
over wife and of wife over husband is a right against 


all others. " It is a right, to claim a certain behaviour 
from a certain person and at the same time to exclude 
all others from claiming it." Monogamy is also neces- 
sary if the claims of children on their parents reciprocal 
to those of the parents on the children are to be satisfied. 
Domestic training is not possible unless father and 
mother exercise joint authority over their children and 
unless the children love and obey them both equally. 
The ideal of married life is that the partnership of 
husband and wife should be for life, and it should not, 
therefore, be terminable at the mere pleasure of one of 
them. While facilitating divorce for adultery, the state 
should not make dissolution of marriage too easy. 


Green's religious views are the direct outcome of his 
metaphysics. They are expressed in fine and impressive 
language chiefly in the addresses on the Witness of 
God and Faith. The substance of what he preaches is 
as follows : 

God is our ideal self, the possibility of which the 
realisation is the end of our moral life. This does not 
mean that He is only an empty ideal. What from the 
point of view of our present incomplete and ignorant 
self is merely -possible is, rightly understood, the truly 
real, and what we are apt to regard as the only thing 
actual owes its actuality to its being the promise and 
potency of that which it is possible for us to become. 
" To anyone who understands a process of develop- 
ment, the result being developed is the reality, and it 
is in its ability to become this that the subject under- 
going development has its true nature." God, as man's 
ideal self, is one with him, one "not with an abstract 
or collective humanity but with the individual man." 

T. H. GREEN 71 

To say so ma r seem presumptuous, but the assertion 
of man's identity with God does not mean that there 
is no difference between them. Identity is impossible 
without difference. The child is in possibility identical 
with the full-grown man, but this does not mean that 
the child is the same as man. Man's identity with God 
is "an identity of self with self." In the case of the 
acorn's identity with the oak, the identity exists not for 
the acorn but for the outside observer. But " in the 
process constituting the moral life, the germ and the 
development, the possibility and its actualisation are one 
and the same consciousness of self." In being conscious 
of ourselves we are conscious of God. The knowledge 
of God, however, cannot be like our knowledge of a 
particular object. A thing is known as an element of 
a single world, by the other elements of which it is 
qualified. The presupposition, the necessary correlative 
of this world, is the knowing self. But though reason 
is the source of our knowledge of the world, it does 
not find its ideal of completeness realised in it. This 
ideal, however, is bound up with our self -consciousness 
" as the consciousness of a subject which is at once the 
negation and the unity of all things; whichjwe do not 
know but are, and through which we know." In the 
light of it, we become aware of our imperfection and 
shortcomings, of something to be known but not yet 
known, something to be done but not yet done. " It is 
an element of identity between us and a perfect being, 
who is in full realisation what we are in principle and 
possibility. That God is, it entitles us to say with the 
same certainty as that the world is or that we ourselves 
are. What He is, it does not indeed enable us to say 
in the same way in which we make propositions about 
matters of fact, but it moves us to seek to become as 


He is; to become like Him, to become Consciously one 
with Him, to have the fruition of His Godhead. In 
this sense it is that reason issues in the life of faith " 
(Works, Vol. III., p. 268). 

Such a faith does not and cannot rest on historical 
events alleged to have taken place in the remote past. 
The dogmas of Christianity are not to be taken literally. 
They are to be understood as expressing, figuratively, 
the central truths of religion of which reason alone can 
be the witness. In the death and resurrection of Christ, 
for example, the essential nature of the divine spirit 
is exhibited and the way to the blessed life of oneness 
with Him shown. God is one only as He returns into 
Himself from His own self -alienation in the world. 
He is not somewhere beyond the clouds. He is close 
to us, lives in us, is incarnated in us. In our thoughts, 
feelings and actions, He thinks, feels and acts; in our 
triumphs He triumphs, and in our failures He fails. 
But He is also above and beyond us. Only as sucK 
is He a spirit and not a mere supreme being. The 
way to attain reconciliation with Him is to re-enact in 
our daily life the crucifixion of Christ. It is our selfish- 
ness, the attempt to find satisfaction in what cannot 
afford it, that keeps us separated from God. The root 
pf sin is to kaow nothing higher than the finite self 
and to be absorbed in its petty and circumscribed aims. 
To get salvation one must die in Christ to the lower 
self in order to rise in Him into the spiritual life of 
love and charity. In " the temple of Christian fellow- 
ship, where no man seeks his own, but everyone 
another's good," God dwells. The true believer in 
Christ is he who, like the Saviour himself, rises above 
his limited self and realises his oneness with God and 
Humanity. " It is our sins and nothing else that 

T. H. GREEN 73 

separate us fror'i God. Philosophy and science, to those 
who seek not to talk of them but to know their power, 
do but render his clearness more clear, and the freedom 
of his service a more perfect freedom. His witness 
grows with time. In great books and great examples, 
in the gathering fulness of spiritual utterance which 
we trace through the history of literature, in the self- 
denying love which we have known from the cradle, 
in the moralising influences of civil life, in the closer 
fellowship of the Christian society, in the sacramental 
ordinances which represent that fellowship, in common 
worship, in the message of the preachers through which, 
amid diversity of stammering tongues, one spirit still 
speaks here God's sunshine is shed abroad without us. 
If it does not reach within the heart, it is because the 
heart has a darkness of its own, some unconquered 
selfishness which prevents its relation to him being one 
of 'sincerity and truth'" (Works^ Vol. III., pp. 

The consciousness of . God is not merely a proof of 
His existence : it is the very presence of God in us. 
" You complain that by searching you cannot find out 
God. No eye can see, or ear hear him. The assertion 
that he exists cannot be verified like any other matter 
of fact. But what if that be not because he is so far 
off, but because he is so near ? You cannot know him 
as you know a particular fact related to you, but neither 
can you so know yourself, and it is your self, not as 
you are, but as in seeking him you become, that is his 
revelation. c Say not in thine own heart, who shall 
ascend into heaven or descend into the deep,' to find 
God in the height of another world or in the depths 
of nature. c The word of God is very nigh thee, even 
in thy mouth and in thy heart.' It is the word that has 


been made man; that has been utteringlitself in all the 
high endeavour, the long-suffering love, the devoted 
search for truth, which have so far moralised mankind, 
and that now speaks in your conscience. It is the God 
in you which strives for communication with God. 

c Speak to him thou, for he hears, and spirit with 

spirit can meet, 

Closer is he than breathing, and nearer than hands 
and feet.' " 


IN the exposition and defence of an idealistic theory 
of the world. Green's associate was Edward Caird. 
After Green's untimely death in 1882, Caird carried 
on alone the work which had originally been shared 
between them. He was a teacher of great originality 
and power. His influence in Scotland for a whole 
generation is comparable only to that of Green at 
Oxford during the seventies of the last century. " No 
teacher of philosophy," says Professor Watson, one of 
his most distinguished pupils, " has ever produced a 
greater influence on his students, a result which was 
mainly due to the utter veracity of the man, his quiet 
but assured faith that all things work together for good, 
and the simple yet felicitous phrases in which ideas by 
no means easy to comprehend were expressed " (Philo- 
sophical Review, Vol. XVIII. , p. 108). "His ordinary 
class, 35 says Professor Mackenzie, another of his famous 
students, "sometimes contained as many as 250 students 
at a time, and few left it without some lasting mark 
of his influence. As a teacher, he was generally recog- 
nised as one of the most effective if not the most 
effective of his time " (Mind, New Series, Vol. 
XVlII., p. 511). Caird was not only a great teacher 
and a great philosopher, but also a man whose " large- 
hearted reasoned faith in God and all goodness " found 



expression in his outward life. " No mafn ot our genera- 
tion," writes Professor J. A. Smith, " was more free 
from self-seeking, from vanity or personal ambition. 
Small and mean things vanished in his presence. He 
loved great things and great men, and above all he loved 
truth, and sought single-heartedly to win and com- 
municate it" (Life and Philosophy of Edward Caird, 
p. 1 66). 

At Oxford, during his student days, Caird enjoyed 
the friendship of Green and was greatly influenced by 
him. The two thinkers had much in common, and the 
fundamental principles of the idealism which they teach 
are, in all essentials, the same. " Seldom have there 
been in the history of philosophy," writes Professor 
Muirhead, " two men who so entirely entered into each 
other's mind and so entirely understood each other, 
seldom, I think, two such friends as Caird and Green " 
(Ibid. p. 131). Both of them develop their ideas largely 
through the criticism of thinkers from whom they differ. 
While Green subjected to a very searching examination 
the principles of Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Spencer and 
Lewes, Caird devoted himself to the criticism of 
Descartes, Spinoza, Kant and Comte. He never ex- 
pounded the system of Hegel in detail, but contented 
himself with writing a monograph on him, " a small 
but golden book," as Professor Watson truly calls it, 
in which a bare sketch of his main principles is given. 
Caird never criticises for the sake of mere destruction. 
His aim always is to bring out the deeper thoughts of 
the philosopher criticised, of which he himself had only 
an imperfect grasp. The point of view from which jhe 
work of criticism is done is that of Hegel. It would 
not be incorrect to call Caird a Hegelian. His idealism 
is, in substance, identical with that of Hegel. Though 


the main work of his life was to expound and estimate 
the Philosophy of Kant, he was much less a Kantian 
than Green. But though Caird borrows largely from 
Hegel, he always makes what he borrows his own and 
cannot, therefore, be described as a mere disciple of 
Hegel. As he himself says, " there are few, if any, in 
any country, who could now take up the same position 
towards Hegel, which was accepted by his immediate 
disciples. The days of discipleship are past." 

Agreeing in the main with Green, Caird differs from 
him in one important particular. jHe points out that 
the spiritual prinrip1fijQ_^jQJty presupposed in the_exisf- 
ence of the jworld _is_ jicvt only that to which all_things 
arejto be. referred but is a. unity of differences in which 
it is revealed.. Asking, like Kant, how experience is 
possible, Green reaches the conclusion that it, consisting 
of mutually related things, has for its presupposition a 
unity of consciousness in which it is centred. Apart 
from an eternally complete consciousness, the universe 
has no meaning. But while Green supports this con- 
clusion with an abundance of convincing arguments, 
he is rather chary of saying anything positive about the 
eternal consciousness. " As to what that consciousness 
is in itself, or in its completeness, we can only make 
negative statements. That there is such a conscious- 
ness is implied in the existence of the world, but what 
it is we can only know through its acting so far in us 
as to enable us, however partially and interruptedly, to 
have knowledge of a world or an intelligent experience " 
(Prolegomena to Ethics, p. 54). This conclusion, Caird 
thinks, is hardly consistent with Green's own view that 
" there is a spiritual self- conscious being of which all 
that is real is the activity or expression." It is true that 
the spiritual principle cannot be known as it knows itself 


or be explained by reference to anything beyond itself, 
as one thing is explained by means of the relations in 
which it stands to others, but this does not mean that 
we are unable to say what it is. Green himself teaches 
us that it is a unity of consciousness " whose nature it 
is to be itself and not itself in one," a universal mind, 
that is, which is subject on one side and its own object 
on the other. As Caird puts it, " if it is possible for 
us to carry back the world of experience to conditions 
that are spiritual, there seems to be nothing that should 
absolutely hinder us from regarding the world positively 
as the manifestation of spirit and from reinterpreting 
the results of science by the aid of this idea how- 
ever difficult it may be to realise satisfactorily such an 
idealistic reconstruction of science " (Mind y Vol. VIII., 
P* 56 0- The differencejbetweeji Green and Caird is 
that while the former is content with gracing the world 
up tojt spiritual principle jpfj^^ 

that it js also possible to show that the_jyQ|-|fl is the, 
manifestation of spirit^ In so far as Caird succeeds in 
doing this his idealism is an improvement upon that 
of Green. 


It is not easy to give a connected exposition of 
Caird's philosophical theory, for it is, for the most part, 
developed through the criticism of others, particularly 
of Kant. In what follows is given an outline of the 
idealism which he, animated by the spirit of Hegel, 
educes from Kant: 

In his transcendental deduction of the categories, 
Kant seeks to prove that knowledge presupposes the 
synthesis of the manifold of sense by means of the cate- 
gories of the understanding. Nothing, he argues, can 


come within the scope of our knowledge which is not 
an affection of the mind, a sensuous representation. The 
sensuous representations, however, become objects of 
Tcnowledge only when they are combined iiUo 

through theirco-presence to_jhe 
self- consciousness. Self- consciousness relates 
isolated impressions to each other and thereby converts 
them into cognisable objects forming parts of a single 
system which we call nature. The correlative of nature, 
therefore, as an orderly whole of parts necessarily related 
to each other, is mind. The most fundamental laws 
of nature are the modes of connection, the forms of 
synthesis (the categories) according to which the mind 
relates sensations to each other, so as to transform them 
into permanent objects of experience. But if the self 
conscious of its identity with itself is the presupposi- 
tion of nature as an orderly whole, it is equally true 
that the unity of the world is that in relation to and 
in distinction from which the mind is conscious of its 
unity with itself. The unity of the world, in other 
words, is the objective counterpart of the mind's unity 
with itself. The presupposition of nature is the syn- 
thesis of the manifold according to the categories 
effected by the understanding conscious of itself as the 
identity to which all sensations are referred, and the 
presupposition of the mind's consciousness of itself as 
a unity is the synthetic activity whereby the world of 
experience is constituted. Apart from relation to the 
unity of the self, the world would fall asunder into 
unrelated particulars, and apart from relation to the 
unity of the world the self would be resolved into 
many disconnected selves. In short, in Kant's view, 
self- consciousness and the world mutually imply each 


The element of permanent value in Kant's deduction 
of the categories, according to Caird, is the demon- 
stration of the truth that knowledge depends on the 
correlativity of sense and understanding and implies the 
opposition and necessary relation to each other of self 
and not-self. Unfortunately, however, he failed to per- 
ceive the organic character of knowledge and conceived 
of it as the result of the combination of separable 
elements. If percepts without concepts are blind and 
concepts without percepts are empty, if the conscious- 
ness of the objective world presupposes the conscious- 
ness of self and the consciousness of self rests upon its 
distinction from and relation to the objective world, 
surely the right conclusion is that knowledge is an 
organic whole of elements distinguishable but not 
separable from each other, and that it is a unity which 
at once creates and overcomes the distinction of subject 
and object. But from the fact of the necessary implica- 
tion of the different elements of knowledge with each 
other, Kant draws the conclusion that they are com- 
bined with each other to constitute it. He does not 
see that it is impossible to convert mere states of the 
mind into objects by artificially bringing them under 
concepts foreign to them. Subjective feelings will 
remain subjective feelings to the end of the chapter, 
no matter how much they may be loaded with the cate- 
gories. Kant himself has shown how inner conscious- 
ness is posterior to the consciousness of an external 
world to which it is relative. Inner experience is not 

H ter experience, but jsjmtar. 

experience itself viewed as the experience of the mipd. 
It is~oBjective consciousness conceived as the conscious- 
ness of the subject for which it exists. In the mind's 
consciousness of the world, the world becomes conscious 


of itself. We cannot therefore regard subjective con- 
sciousness as prior to objective consciousness from which 
the latter is developed. To think that it is so is to make 
the presupposition of a thing dependent on it. Inner 
experience contains everything that is in outer experi- 
ence plus an additional determination. Kant, the main 
lesson of whose transcendental deduction of the cate- 
gories is that the self and the world are real only as 
correlated elements of a single whole, does not alto- 
gether succeed in shaking off the error of the subjective 
idealist who reduces objects to mere states of the sub- 
ject. In opposition to the subjective idealist, he shows 
that the consciousness of objects cannot be resolved into 
the affections of the ego, because it is only in distinc- 
tion from and in relation to the object that the ego 
becomes conscious of itself, but he lapses into the same 
error when he says that the inner states of the self must 
be synthesised by imagination before they are brought 
under concepts. Sensations, as parts of the experience 
of a self, must be referred to objects, for it is in relation 
to objects that it is possible for the subject to have any 
experience. "The consciousness of a self as one with 
itself through all the changes of its inner experience, 
must contain all the variety of an outer experience, with 
the further qualification that such outer experience is 
at the same time the history of a mind a mind whose 
consciousness of itself is developed by the same process 
whereby its knowledge of objects is increased " (Critical 
Philosophy of Kant, Vol. I., p. 419). 

The whole difficulty of Kant, Caird points out, arises 
from his attempt to build his theory which virtually 
pvercomes dualism upon a basis of dualism. The duality 
of subject and object within knowledge he seeks to 
explain by the mutual interaction of a noumenal subject 

H.N.-H, F 


and a noumenal object out of knowledge. What the 
transcendental deduction of the categories proves, how- 
ever, is that the self is conscious of itself only through 
the synthetic process by which it combines particulars 
of sense into the unity of the objective world and the 
objective world has reality only in relation to the unity 
of the self. The consciousness of self rests upon the 
consciousness of the world, and the consciousness of the 
world has for its presupposition the consciousness of 
self. But the consciousness of the correlativity of the 
self and the world implies a unity which finds expres- 
sion in and transcends the correlated elements. If the 
self is aware of itself as that in distinction from and 
in relation to which the consciousness of the world takes 
place, it is because it is also the unity which goes 
beyond the distinction and makes it possible. The con- 
clusion to be drawn from the strict correlativity of sub- 
ject and object which Kant demonstrates is that they 
are the opposed aspects of a spiritual principle of unity 
which realises itself in and through them. It is this 
spiritual principle of unity that is the ultimate reality 
and not a noumenal subject or a noumenal object in- 
capable of being known. What is incapable of being 
known is for that very reason unreal. The distinction 
between self and not-self falls within knowledge, and 
hence the self is not a mere subject but the ultimate 
unity bifurcated into subject and object. What con- 
ceals this truth from view is the imperfection of our 
knowledge and the growth and change which charac- 
terise it. The ultimate reality cannot be anything 
developing. All development is within it, but it itself 
as a whole does not develop. If, therefore, our know- 
ledge undergoes development, it cannot be the ultimate 
reality. However true this contention may be, it does 


not follow from it that the supreme reality is beyond 
knowledge. The very consciousness of our finitude and 
imperfection bears witness to the presence in us of an 
infinite principle which progressively realises itself in 
the processes of our lives. For, a being which has not 
an element of infinitude in it could not be conscious 
of its own imperfection and limits. Our self is not 
indeed the spiritual principle presupposed in the exist- 
ence of the world, but it is a manifestation of it and 
is therefore capable of knowing it. " The consciousness 
of defect in our knowledge of the world is a conscious- 
ness of disunion in ourselves; or, what is the same 
thing, it is a consciousness of union with, and at the 
same time separation from, a perfect intelligence for 
which the process of development is completed. To say 
that we only gradually come to know the world as it 
reveals itself to us, is another way of describing the 
same fact which is expressed when we say that our 
conscious life is the realisation in us of a perfect intelli- 
gence; i.e. of an intelligence which knows all that as 
self-conscious subject we have the possibility of know- 
ing, and, therefore, is all that we can become " (Critical 
Philosophy of Kant, Vol. I., pp. 423-24). 

The true way of explaining the objective world of 
experience is not to attempt to analyse it into simpler 
elements which somehow combine to produce it, but 
to correct the first view of it as a res completa by 
bringing to light its essential relation to the self of 
which it is the necessary expression. The objective 
world is properly understood when it is viewed as an 
integral element of the Absolute life and consciousness 
of which our selves are partial manifestations. 

In the Principles of the Pure Understanding, Kant 
attempts to prove in detail the thesis put forward in 


the deduction of the categories. The substance of the 
truth which Caird extracts from Kant's prolix dis- 
cussions by means of constructive criticism may be 
thus stated : 

We can be conscious of an object as a whole only 
by putting its parts together atod of it as a unity 
through the process of distinguishing it from other 
objects with which it is combined into a single whole 
of experience. A part of an object cannot be known 
independently of its relations to other parts nor the 
object apart from its relations to other objects. But 
such mutual relations of objects and their parts imply 
a consciousness of all of them together. It is this 
necessity of knowing things, distinguished from each 
other, in one and the same act of cognition, that makes 
it inevitable that all intuition should be extensive 
quantities. The same remark applies to time, which 
can be conceived as a whole only by the simultaneous 
apprehension of its successive moments. Space is the 
necessary form of external perception because all per- 
ception of external objects is the perception of them 
and their parts together, and time is the form of 
internal perception because the apprehension of objects 
as co-existing in space involves the synthesis of 
imagination which is a process in time. To know 
things and their parts, as distinguished from each 
other, together, is to know them as extensive quanti- 
ties or, in other words, to perceive them in space. 
If objects absolutely excluded each other they would 
not be objects to a single consciousness and we could 
not speak of them as objects at all, and if they djd 
not exclude each other, they would shrink into a 
geometrical point and thus vanish into nothing. It 
is because things at once repel and attract each other, 


arc a many-in-one, that they are spread out in one 
space. Whatever the qualities of particular objects 
may be, they, in order to be objects of knowledge, 
must conform to the essential condition of being 
differentiated from and integrated with each other by 
a consciousness for Vhich they are objects. To say 
this is to say that all intuitions are extensive quan- 
tities or that space is a necessary form of external 

The consciousness of change, which is an essential 
feature of the world, presupposes the reference of it 
to a substance that does not itself change. The 
question is not how or why changes take place, but 
what is the condition implied in the knowledge and 
possibility of them. Now change which is not a 
change of something is meaningless. A phenomenon 
occurring in time can be determined as such only if 
we regard it as a state of a permanent substance. If 
there were nothing but a process of change in the 
universe, it would not be anything conceivable or 
nameable. To know change as change is to go beyond 
it and to relate it to a permanent substance of which 
IF Is_tKc rifxpressibn. ^Substance, in short, is the pre- 
supposition of changes, for no idea of the latter is 
possible unless we conceive of them as the successive 
determinations of the former. 

But if change implies substance, substance equally 
implies change. As the conception of changes depends 
upoifThe icfeieuce of them to an identical substance, 
so we can think of the latter only as the connecting 
principle of changes. Substance is not an unknown 
and unknowable substratum in which its determina- 
tions inhere, but is the principle which finds expression 
in its successive states and, as such, is the link that 


connects them with each other. The first movement 
of thought is to perceive that beneath changing 
phenomena there is a permanent principle that makes 
them possible. Next, we see that if we merely refer 
changes to substance, only lead them to it but do not 
derive them out of it, we get dimply an abstraction 
as unreal as the One of the Eleatics. As changes are 
unmeaning apart from substance, so substance is un- 
meaning apart from changes. Substance and change 
are both adequately comprehended when we conceive 
of the former as expressed in its successive deter- 
minations, thereby connecting them with each other 
according to a fixed rule. We thus pass from the 
idea of substance to that of causality. Cause and 
effect are not two distinct phenomena externally 
brought into relation to eacH other by the under- 
standing but are the successive states "of the "JJfff? 
thing.^ Heat is the cause of expansion becauseTlTe 
heated body is identical with the body that expands. 
As substance by its own immanent dialectic passes 
into causality, so causality, properly thought out, leads 
to reciprocity. The existence of a thing depends upon 
its relations to other things, upon the place which it 
occupies in the one connected system of experience. 
Any change, therefore, which it undergoes is only 
possible through the alteration of its relations to other 
things. " Change can be conceived only as an altera- 
tion of substances in their relation to other substances, 
and all causation is external. And in a single sub- 
stance conceived as existing by itself, or in the world 
as a whole, we cannot conceive of any change as 
taking place." The presupposition of causality, that 
on which the changes of things depend, is the recip- 
rocal determination of substances. Objects reciprocally 


connected_jtccording to the law of causality. The 
apparent untenability of the view that cause and effect 
are the successive states of the same substance is due 
to our failure to distinguish causality from reciprocity. 
The sun melts the wax. Here what is taken to be 
the cause, viz. the sun, is different from the effect, 
viz. the melting of the wax. But in reality the cause 
is not the sun but the wax as heated by the sun, and 
no one can deny that the heated wax is identical with 
the molten wax. And the wax in being heated by 
the sun gives rise to a change in the sun itself, viz. 
the loss of heat which it sustains, however imper- 
ceptible and practically negligible this loss may be. 
If we are to state the facts correctly, we must say that 
the sun and the wax mutually influencing each other 
pass through changes which are related to each other 
as cause and effect. The wax as heated is the cause 
of the molten wax and the sun heating the wax is 
the cause of the comparatively less hot sun which 
is the result. 1 Causality, it will thus be seen, implies 

To say that things are juxtaposed in one space and 
constitute the unity of nature only as they mutually 
determine each other is to say that they are the 
expression of an ideal principle immanent in them. 
Substances which have no being independently of their 
mutual relations are at bottom one, and .this unity 
must necessarily be a spiritual unity, for nothing else 
can have the peculiar property of embracing all things 
within itself and of being present to each one of them 
without being confined to any of them. If things are 
incapable of being isolated from each other and are 
1 The illustration given is mine. 


real only as mutually qualifying elements of a con- 
nected whole, what is proved is that they are the 
embodiment of an all-pervading spirit. If we correct 
the common-sense view that objects are self-subsistent 
and bear no essential relationship to one another by 
pointing out that their reality depends upon their 
being reciprocally determining parts of a single system, 
we must go further and correct even the scientific view 
by bringing to light the presupposition of the mutual 
relatedness of objects, viz. their essential relation to 
the self for which they exist and of which they are 
the expression. In short, we must realise that the world, 
in its ultimate interpretation, is the self -revelation of 

All this, Caird points out, is virtually implied in 
Kant's doctrine that the synthesis of the manifold of 
sensations according to the principles of the under- 
standing is the work of the unity of the self. The 
main defect of this view is that it seeks to keep the 
self apart from the world which it constitutes, instead 
of conceiving of it as the inner principle, the centre 
of that world itself. The pure analytic unity of the 
self, according to Kant, becomes synthetic in dealing 
with the matter of sense foreign to it, and though it 
becomes conscious of itself in relation to the experi- 
enced world, that relation is only a negative relation, 
for it consists in the return of the self upon itself 
from the world which it makes. But, argues Caird, 
the self thus returns upon itself because it goes out 
of itself to the objective world, which means that the 
relation of opposition between it and the world pre- 
supposes the reconciliation of that opposition in a 
higher unity. If percepts without concepts are blind 
and concepts without percepts empty, if experience 


involves their opposition to and union with each other 
through the relation of both of them to the unity 
of the self, the conclusion which legitimately follows 
is that the self and-thc. objective world are opposed 
expressions . of the one all-embracing spirit and not 
phenomenal appearances of noumenal entities. 

To show that the world is through and through 
spiritual is not to reduce it to mere ideas of the mind. 
Kant justly contends that "even our internal experi- 
ence is possible only under the supposition of outer 
experience," and thus turns the table upon the idealist 
who maintains that all experience is internal experience. 
It is no doubt true that object has no meaning except 
in relation to subject, but Kant points out that the 
converse of this proposition is equally true, viz. that 
subjective consciousness presupposes objective con- 
sciousness. Psychical processes are possible only in 
contrast with the external world to which they are 
related. " The consciousness of my own existence is 
at the same time an immediate consciousness of the 
existence of other things." It is impossible to refute 
Berkeley when he argues that matter unrelated to mind 
is an inconceivable abstraction, but because matter does 
not exist independently of mind, it does not follow 
that it is nothing but ideas of the mind. To show 
that a thing cannot exist apart from its correlative 
is not to reduce it to that correlative. Just as the 
external world is real only in relation to mind, so the 
processes of the mind are possible only in relation to 
the external world. If outer experience presupposes 
inner experience, inner experience equally presupposes 
outer experience. 

The external world in relation to which alone internal 
experience is possible is not independent of mind. It 


is the other of mind and for that very reason exists 
for mind. Mind is the unity which opposes itself to 
itself, gives rise to the relative distinction between 
subject and object and overcomes it. The error of 
materialism^ is to ignore the subject for which objects 
^xist, and the error of Berkeley is to ignore the object 
in relation to and in distinction from which subjective 
processes are possible. What Uaird^ncTbther idealists 
like him urge is that the world which in its immediate 
aspect seems to be purely physical is, on reflection, 
seen to be the self -revelation of mind. It is spiritual 
without ceasing to be material. " The result of Kant's 
teaching when it was freed from the contradictory 
notion of the c thing-in-itself ' that Irish Bull in 
philosophy, as Heine calls it was not to cast any, 
even the slightest doubt on the reality of the external 
world, but only to show that a new element must be 
added to all that we know of it as an external world, 
namely, its relation to the subject. No doubt, this 
new element brings important modifications into our 
previous views of objectivity. For, on the one hand, 
it absolutely precludes the attempt to explain the 
spiritual by the material, and, indeed, compels us to 
conclude that there is no material world which Js not 
also spiritual. And, on the other hand, as the correla- 
tion between the self and the not-self is not one-sided, 
it brings with it also the conviction that there is no 
spiritual world which is not also material, or does not 
presuppose a material world. Thus the reality of that 
which is other than the self-conscious intelligence is 
seen to rest on the same basis with that of the self- 
conscious intelligence itself, and the one cannot be 
denied without the other" (Idealism and the Theory 
of Knowledge^ p. 4). 


A theory like this is not open to the charge of intel- 
lectualism. To show that what is real is ultimately 
spiritual is not to reduce everything to abstract 
thought. The meaning of c thought ' is somewhat 
elastic. When the idealist speaks of it as the con- 
stitutive principle of things, he is supposed to ignore 
will and the element of particularity in experience. 
But writers like Caird use the term c thought ' in a 
comprehensive sense, meaning by it a universal prin- 
ciple which is realised in the plurality of the particular 
facts of experience and of which will is a necessary 
phase. The self -differentiating and self -integrating 
movement of thought which originates the system 
of concepts also creates and transcends the relative 
distinction between the universal concepts and the 
particular objects of perception. Identity and differ- 
ence, universal and particular are correlatives which 
have no meaning apart from each other, and the 
differences of the objective world are thought's own 
differences through which it returns upon itself. It is 
true that the unity in difference of thought in itself 
is not the same as the unity in difference of thought 
and being, but the differences of being are the counter- 
part of thought's own differences and the relative 
opposition of intelligence and the intelligible world 
is based upon the nature of thought itself. Thought 
conceived as going out of itself to the differences. oL 
the world is will. The antithesis of intellectualism 
and voluntarism arises only when thought and will are 
regarded as two independent entities. They are, how- 
ever, not two separate things but two distinguishable 
aspects of one and the same thing. There is no 
thought withouj^gjlj^ and no will without thouglit. 
The world's reference to mind is the mind's conscious- 


ness of the world, but the other side of this truth is 
that in the world of which it is conscious, mind itself 
is embodied. So viewed it is will. 

Caird conceives of mind as a unity beyond all differ- 
ence, but he is careful to point out that unity has 
no mearjing without difference. To insist on a unity 
beyond all difference and through all difference is not 
to deny the reality of the differences. "The one and 
the many, so far from being opposed, are factors of 
thought which cannot be separated without contradic- 
tion." A unity which does not unite different things is 
an abstraction, and " an absolute difference would be 
no difference at all, for it would annihilate all relation 
between the things distinguished, and, in doing so, 
it would annihilate itself." The distinction between 
one and many is not denied; what is denied is 
that the distinction is absolute. " The parts of the 
intelligible world mean nothing except in the whole, 
and the whole means nothing except as distributing 
itself to the parts, and constituting their spiritual 

But if mind is a unity expressed in its own dif- 
ferences the differences cannot be mere objects but niust 
bejnjnds as^well, particular forms of the universal mind 
to which it imparts itself. The ultimate reality, Caird 
rightly maintains, " must be regarded as a principle of 
unity which is present in all things and beings, and 
from which they, in their utmost possible independence, 
cannot be separated," " In producing differences it 
produces itself in them." Now, a spiritual principle 
which produces itself in the differences of objects jnd 
cannot be separated from them is realised in them as 
their selves and must be conceived not as, a unitary 
self but as a unified system of a plurality of selves. 


I may be permitted to quote here what I have said 
elsewhere on this subject. 1 

"Nature, as a systematic totality of inter-related 
things, presupposes a spiritual principle of unity of 
which it is the necessary manifestation. But what is 
the relation between the things which make up nature 
and the mind it reveals? We are told, and with truth, 
that the unity of mind and the differences of the world 
mutually imply each other, that unity is of differences, 
and differences have no meaning apart from the unity 
of the self in which they are centred. 'The main 
result of modern philosophy, and especially of modern 
idealism/ Caird tells us, c has been to put a concrete 
in place of an abstract unity, or, in other words, to 
vindicate the essential relation of the self and the not- 
self.' The unity for which idealism pleads is not a 
unity beyond all difference but in difference. But if this 
unity is conceived as only the correlative of the many, 
it inevitably becomes distinguished from and, therefore, 
limited by the many, and is, in consequence, reduced 
to the level of one among many. The one regarded as 
the correlative of the many is what the many are not, 
and is, therefore, only a numerical unity. Of course 
idealism goes further than the mere conception of the 
correlativity of the one and many, and regards the many 
as the expression of an inclusive unity. But the full 
consequence of this view is not realised. The many 
which body forth the ultimate one partake, as Plato 
saw so clearly, of the one; and each of them, in spite 
of the finitude arising from its distinction from and 
negative relation to the others, is, in virtue of its par- 
ticipation in the one, also whole and infinite. In other 

*In an article on "The Absolute and the Finite Self" in the 
Philosophical Review^ vol. xxvii, No. 4.. 


words, -tyhat we call things are also minds.,. They are, 
of course, not minds in isolation from each other and 
on their own account, but as integral parts of the 
Absolute mind. If objects are real only as elements 
of the world-system, and if that system is the embodi- 
ment of a universal mind, they cannot be mere objects, 
but must be centres of an all-inclusive experience, indi- 
vidualised expressions of the one ultimate mind. The 
differences in which the Absolute finds expression are 
determinate forms of the Absolute itself, and ea^h of 
them must, therefore, be conceived as^an infinite mind, 
infinite, in Spinoza's language, in suo genere and in 
the Absolute. What appear to us as things are, in their 
inner being, the centres from which the Absolute 
experiences and appreciates ifi^Qjfinjij!e..ways the one 
world in which it is revealed. They are like the monads 
of Leibnitz, but not sundered and self-centred, con- 
scious of the whole world, not potentially but fully and 
adequately, and individuals not in their own strength, 
but as included within and contributing to the life of 
the Absolute individual. Asjlojce puts it, c whoever 
conceives the Absolute as a self conceives it as in its 
form inclusive of an infinity of various but interwoven 
and so of inter-communicating selves, each one of 
which represents -the totality of the Absolute in its. own 
way, and with its own unity, so that the simplest con- 
ceivable structure of the Absolute life would be statable 
only in terms of an infinitely great variety of types of 
purpose and of fulfilment, intertwined in the most 
complex fashion. . . . We have to regard the Absolute 
in its wholeness as comprising many selves in the mpst 
various inter-relation. 5 

"The Absolute experience is the totality of the ex- 
periences of the individuals embraced within it, in which 


its whole meaning is embodied. These individuals are 
relative wholes within the unity of the Absolute and 
contribute in various and unique ways to its total pur- 
pose. The Absolute purpose is realised in and through 
the purposes of its constituent individuals, and the 
several meanings of these individuals are co-ordinated 
with each other through their subordination to the life 
of the Absolute in its wholeness. This does not mean 
that the Absolute life and purpose is anything other 
than the meanings of the individuals in which it is 
realised, any more than the ideal and purpose of the 
state is other than the aims and ideals of its citizens 
which are brought into co-ordination with each other 
through their subordination to it. Just as the others 
partaking of the One in Plato's Parmentdes are them- 
selves one and whole, having parts, each part being 
infinite, no matter to what proximate whole it may 
belong, so the individuals in which the Absolute is 
expressed, possessing its nature, are subordinate wholes 
realised in their own differences which, parts .of parts 
as they are, retain, as integral elements of the Absolute, 
their inalienable property of being whole and infinite. 
The subordinate wholes do not necessarily exclude but 
may overlap each other in consequence of the same parts 
forming constituent moments of different wholes. As 
the same citizen may be a member of various corpora- 
tions within the unity of the state, so the same self 
may belong to different individualised systems within 
the ultimate unity of the Absolute. The complex and 
comprehensive meaning of the whole controls and 
determines the distribution and organisation into sub- 
ordinate systems of the finite-infinite individuals in 
which the Absolute is realised, and if that meaning 
requires it, the constitution of these systems may 


undergo changes through the rearrangement of the 
elements forming them. 

" The type of idealism outlined above is, of course, 
monism, for it insists upon the unity of the Absolute, 
but what is important to remember is that the Absolute 
is one, not in spite of but because of the differences in 
which it is expressed. These differences, to be sure, 
are objective existences, but objective existences which, 
by reason of the embodiment of the Absolute mind in 
them, are also selves. It, therefore, is by no means 
hostile to the principle for which pluralism contends, 
only it urges that the plurality of the finite but all- 
inclusive selves rests upon a unity in which they are 
all gathered up without detriment to their distinction 
from each other. The plurality of selves does not 
simply disappear in the Absolute, nor does the Absolute 
transcend these selves while sustaining and upholding 
them, as Lotze and others seem to suppose. The con- 
tent of the Absolute is no other than the contents of 
its constituent selves, though it is not a mere sum of 
them. As the synthesis of them, it gives a new value 
to them, but is not other than they. As a living 
organism consists only of its members, but is not simply 
their aggregate, as society is made up of individuals 
but is not merely a collection of them, so the Absolute 
self is a complex unity which does not go beyond, and 
yet re-interprets and gives a higher significance to the 
experiences of the finite but perfect individuals 1 that 
compose it. 

"The view that objects of experience are in their 

ultimate nature selves does not mean that they are 

reducible to ideas of the mind or that there is no 

distinction between things and minds. A thing is a 

*The expression is M'Taggart's, 


self only in the sense that, viewed from within, it is the 
subject to which the whole circle of objective experi- 
ence, relatively opposed to it, is referred. It is one 
of the infinite points of view from which the Absolute 
contemplates and appreciates the world and thus ensures 
the richness and complexity of its experience. The 
external order of the physical world has for its counter- 
part a system of inter-penetrating selves in which 
the Absolute is realised and of which it is the 
unity. The reality of nature as a system of recipro- 
cally determining things is not denied. All that 
is done is to point out that such a system has 
for its presupposition an individualised system of 

" The finite self is a partial reproduction of the 
Absolute. No other explanation is consistent with its 
essential nature. But we have seen that the Absolute 
life is distributed into its component centres of experi- 
ence and has no content over and above them. Man, 
therefore, can only be a fragmentary expression of a 
differentiation of the Absolute or of a subordinate 
system of such differentiations. Every object is, ideally, 
a finite but perfect self in which the Absolute is realised. 
The human body, therefore, must be viewed as a centre 
from which the Absolute experiences in a unique way 
the whole of existence. As such a centre it is a deter- 
minate form of the Absolute self. The fragmentary 
being, man, is only a very limited area of this deeper 
self detached from it, and it is through it and not 
directly that he is included in the Absolute. The 
limited content of his mind is supplemented by that 
of his transcendental self, and as so supplemented forms 
an element of the Absolute life and experience. The 
deficiencies of finite consciousnesses, that is to say, 

H.N.-H. G t 


are made good before they are allowed to enter the 
sanctuary of the Absolute." i^ 


Although Caird occupied for many years the Chair 
of Moral Philosophy in the University of Glasgow, he 
did not write any systematic treatise on ethics. His 
views on moral philosophy are to be gathered from his 
criticisms of other writers, particularly of Kant. Caird 
never took delight in merely refuting a philosophical 
theory. He always sought to bring out the inner 
meaning of a writer by means of constructive criticism, 
and in the process of doing so gave indications of his 
own ideas. It is in this way that his views on ethics 
are developed. This method, says Professor Muirhead, 
" gave scope to the power, in which he was not excelled 
by Hegel himself, of criticising philosophies from 
within " (Life and Philosophy of Edward Caird^ 
p. 304). In order to know what Caird had to teach on 
moral philosophy, it is essential to study carefully the 
chapters on Kant's ethical works in the second volume 
of his Critical Philosophy of Kant. 

Kant makes a rigid distinction between the rational 
nature and the animal nature of man the Homo nou- 
menon and the Homo phenomenon. The will is moral 
only in so far as it is determined by pure reason, by 
the abstract idea of the good. The will that wills 
reason, which is the same thing as the will that wills 
itself, is alone the virtuous will, and the virtuous will 
is also the free will. Freedom, in Kant's view, consists, 
negatively, in resisting the solicitations of passion, and 
positively, in the will being determined by pure reason. 
Opposed to the moral will is the will which is influenced 
by passion, by the animal propensities of our nature. 


To be determined in our action by ends prescribed by 
our sentient nature is to lose freedom and to be im- 
moral. The attainment of the moral life, therefore, 
according to Kant, depends on our being able to over- 
ride passion and to be guided by motives springing 
solely from reason. 

Now, what Caird urges against Kant is that reason 
and passion cannot thus be divorced from each other. 
It is a mistake to think that in the human soul animality 
and rationality are simply juxtaposed. The impulses 
and desires of a man are very different from those of 
a mere animal. Their nature is changed by their con- 
tact with reason. " The consciousness of desire changes 
desire." So far from being alien to reason, desires are 
the mediums through which reason finds expression in 
our practical life. It is therefore idle to talk of extrud- 
ing passion from our nature. Into the motives by 
which man's actions are determined, feeling inevitably 
enters as a necessary element. Nothing can move the 
will to action which is not desired, and what is desired 
must be a source of self-satisfaction. The will in being 
determined by particular motives, in the constitution of 
which our sentient nature must have a share, does not 
cease to be free. The error of Kant is to set the uni- 
versal in absolute opposition to the particular. It is 
in the activities determined by particular ends that the 
universality of the self is realised. In willing the par- 
ticular the universal is willed, and a universal that is 
incapable of being expressed in the particular is only 
an abstraction. 

The relation of the self to an object, argues Caird, 
is not like the relation of one object to another. It 
is not a relation of externality. All objects are for the 
self and, in the ultimate point of view, the manifesta- 


tion of the self. They are external to one another 
because they are held together by a common self which 
is their correlative. That which makes the relation of 
externality possible cannot itself be subject to that 
relation. Therefore, in being moved to action by the 
object of a particular desire, the self is determined not 
by what is extraneous to it but by that which depends 
for its existence on its necessary relation to it : its 
determination by particular motives is essentially self- 
determination. Desires are, on the one hand, related 
to their appropriate objects, and, on the other hand, to 
the self for which these objects exist. Their satis- 
faction, therefore, is also the satisfaction of the self. 
" Desire is always for an object which presents itself 
as a form of the satisfaction or realisation of the self. 
In the satisfaction of desire there are, indeed, two 
moments ideally distinguishable, the satisfaction of the 
particular desire and the satisfaction of the self, but the 
former cannot exist in the rational being as such " 
(Critical Philosophy of Kant, Vol. II., p. 228). 

But although in action the self makes a particular 
object of desire its end and so identifies itself with it, 
it also distinguishes itself from it. " For in a particular 
object as such I, as universal subject, cannot be realised, 
and the satisfaction I get from it as an individual is 
therefore mingled with dissatisfaction. " It is this dis- 
satisfaction that finds expression in ascetic systems of 
morality. They truly perceive that no amount of satis- 
faction of isolated desires can ever permanently satisfy 
the human self. Between the universality of the self 
and the particularity of an object of desire, there is 
a disparity which it is impossible to ignore. But 
asceticism errs in making the opposition between reason 
and passion absolute. Because self-realisation means 


more than the satisfaction of particular desires, it does 
not follow that it consists in the annulment of passion 
and in the attainment of a life of pure reason. "A 
negative implies a positive," and " if we attempt to 
treat a negative relation as negative only, we make it 
cease to be a relation at all or, indeed, to be anything." 
What we have to perceive, therefore, is that although 
in the moral life desires and impulses are in their imme- 
diate form negated, they are nevertheless retained as 
elements of an organised whole. " In the consciousness 
of desire the self is withdrawn from immediate union 
with the desire; it has the desire before it as a motive, 
which stands in relation to all other motives through 
its relation to the self. Hence, it is impossible for it 
any longer to wish to satisfy that desire apart from 
wishing to satisfy itself and so from wishing to 
satisfy other tendencies of the self " (Critical Philo- 
sophy of Kant, Vol. II., p. 217). "It is only 
when taken by themselves as ends that the particular 
objects of desire must be negated or rejected; while, 
as related to the universal, and as indeed forms of its 
manifestation, they become elements in the good, which 
is the end of all moral action." The desires of a rational 
being like man are not lawless and chaotic impulses; 
they are essentially forms of self-realisation. "It is only 
as we regard an object or end as having a place in a 
totality of ends, the realisation of which is one with 
the realisation or satisfaction of the self, that it can be 
a motive to us." 

But the same universal principle through relation 
to which our desires and impulses are reduced to 
elements of a rational life also carries the individual 
beyond himself and unites him with other individuals 
as members of a social organism. In other words, the 


organisation of the desires and impulses of individuals 
and the activities prompted by them is dependent upon 
the organisation of the individuals themselves into the 
social whole. Orderliness of individual life is impos- 
sible without an orderly social life. On the social 
character of morality Caird lays particular stress. "Man 
as a moral being," he maintains, " always is, and is 
more or less definitely conscious of himself as being, 
a member of a community, which, just because it 
subordinates him as an individual, is the sphere in 
which his spiritual nature is realised." It is true that 
the modern man has the consciousness of being a law 
and an end to himself, but Caird points out that such 
a consciousness is itself a social product and is possible 
only for the civilised man. The savage is innocent 
of any such consciousness. Subjective morality the 
morality which opposes the inner law of conscience 
to the objective social standard is the outcome of 
the consciousness of a higher moral ideal than what 
is embodied in the existing laws and institutions of 
society. It therefore could not have existed inde- 
pendently of customary morality. " In absolutely 
opposing itself to the morality of law and custom, 
reflective morality only shows that it has forgotten its 
own origin. A moral consciousness is in reality the 
consciousness of an end which has realised and is 
realising itself in human society. Its c ought to be 5 
therefore always rests on the c is, 5 or rather it points 
to a deeper c is > of which the immediate facts are only 
the appearance." Individualistic morality arises when 
the current ways of life fail to satisfy and a higher 
ideal has not yet been reflected in social institutions. 
Its value lies in its leading to a better reconstruction 
of society. 


Caird constantly reminds us that in their moral life 
men are not isolated. Superficially viewed, they seem 
to be self-centred beings, but, in reality, they are what 
they are in virtue of a universal principle which binds 
them together. "We are knowing subjects only as we 
transcend our individual existence, and regard it as an 
object among others in the one world, an object which, 
therefore, we are able to regard from a universal point 
of view, and to measure by the same standards which 
we apply to other objects. In like manner, we are 
practical or moral subjects only as we are conscious of 
ourselves as members along with others of one society 
and are able, therefore, to view ourselves like them, 
impartially with reference to the ends of society. . . , 
Morality, in fact, springs out of the inevitable media- 
tion of the consciousness of self by the consciousness 
of our relations to others, and the consequent necessity 
of judging ourselves from a social point of view, 
whether it be the point of view of the family, or of 
the nation, or whatever be the society to which we 
thus relate ourselves. And if, subsequently, the moral 
law can be conceived in its abstraction as a law resting 
on the consciousness of the individual of an inner life, 
in which he is alone with himself, yet this conception 
can only be the result of an individualistic return upon 
the self, which involves a reaction against social forms 
that have become insufficient, and is a step in the 
transition towards the development of a higher social 
consciousness " (Critical Philosophy of Kant, Vol. II., 

P- 399)- 
t Such a theory is no mere altruism. The self -surrender 

of an individual is not to other individuals, but to the 
social universal of which all are equally members and 
to which all are equally subordinated. If it is wrong 


to be selfish, it is no less wrong to promote the selfish- 
ness of others. " An unreasoning eagerness to surrender 
all to the will of another tends to manufacture a gigantic 
self in the individual to whom the surrender is made." 
Duties to self and duties to others are alike duties to 
society. "The true moral self -surrender is not simply 
the surrender of one self to another, but of all to the 
universal principle which, working in society, gives back 
to each his own individual life transformed into an organ 
of itself. What gives its moral value to the social life 
is that it not merely limits the self-seeking of each in 
reference to the self-seeking of the rest, nor even that 
it involves a reciprocal sacrifice of each to the others; 
but that a higher spirit takes possession of each and 
all, and makes them its organs, turning the natural 
tendencies and powers of each of the members of the 
society into the means of realising some special function 
necessary to the organic completeness of its life " 
(Critical Philosophy of Kant, Vol. II., p. 402). The 
error of altruism is in essence the same as that of 
egoism. Both forget that " the surrender of the indi- 
vidual as a natural being, and his recovery of his life 
as an organ dedicated to a special social function, is the 
essential dialectic of morals, which repeats itself in every 
form of society." 

The principle which enables Caird to reconcile egoism 
and altruism in ethics also enables him to reconcile indi- 
vidualism and socialism in politics. If by socialism is 
meant the suppression of individuals, he has nothing 
to do with it. If the individual apart from society is 
an abstraction, society apart from the individuals is po 
less an abstraction. It is in the lives of the individuals 
that the social ideal is realised, and to further the 
interests of the community at the expense of the indi- 


viduals is to pursue a chimera. Caird, therefore, is in 
entire sympathy with the ideal of making the individual 
self-reliant and efficient. He is opposed to indi- 
vidualism not because it lays stress on the supreme 
importance of individual liberty, but because it forgets 
that such liberty is possible only through membership 
of the state. Only by discharging the functions which 
belong to them as citizens of the state can men become 
free beings. Freedom is the mark not of isolated but 
of corporate life. Law and liberty are not antithetical 
to each other. " Freedom and association are not 
opposed but interdependent ideas, in such a sense that 
separated from each other they lose all their meaning." 
Holding such views, Caird does not admit that the 
individual has any right against the state. It is from 
the state that all his rights are derived. But he is pre- 
pared to concede that " in modern times, neither the 
State nor the Family any longer represents the highest 
moral unity of which we can conceive; although, as 
a matter of fact, no higher unity has yet taken an 
organised form. But the very anticipation of such a 
unity, however vague, leads to a kind of emancipation 
of the individual from the State and the Family, and 
so causes an apparent separation of Law from Morals." 


In the interpretation of the religious consciousness 
by means of the fundamental principles of his idealism, 
Caird's most original work consists. In the two volumes 
of Gifford lectures entitled the Evolution of Religion, 
th e facts of the religious life are surveyed, and an 
attempt is made to exhibit the underlying unity of all 
forms of religion with the aid of the idea of develop- 
ment. The book is remarkable alike for the profundity 


of its thought and the lucidity of its style, and, in the 
English language, there is perhaps no other work which 
is equally helpful to the reader in enabling him to 
apprehend the essential meaning of religion and to 
separate what is of permanent value in it from what is 
accidental and transitory. 

The phenomena of man's religious life are subject 
to law quite as much as other phenomena, and are, 
therefore, capable of scientific treatment. This does not 
mean that they can be explained by means of the same 
principles by which facts of nature are explained. The 
world does not consist of things all on the same level. 
" It is more fitly described as a hierarchy in which the 
lower orders of being are both presupposed and ex- 
plained by the higher." When, therefore, we pass from 
phenomena of a lower order to those of a higher order, 
we must have for their interpretation a new and a more 
adequate principle. The only result of seeking to 
explain things by means of a principle too narrow for 
them is that they come to appear as lawless and in- 
explicable. From the fact that the principles used for 
the explanation of the physical world throw no light 
whatever on the religious consciousness, it has been 
inferred by some that that consciousness is devoid of any 
rational meaning, and by others that it is based on faith 
and is, therefore, superior to things of which a scientific 
or philosophical justification is possible. But the true 
conclusion is that the phenomena of the religious life 
require for their explanation categories higher than those 
that suffice for the interpretation of the outer world and 
that, in their own way, they are no less subject to Jaw 
than the facts with which sciences like physics, chemistry 
and biology are concerned. 

It is the principle of development, together with the 


idea of the unity of mankind, that is of most service 
to us in explaining religion and its different forms. The 
unity of mankind must be understood to mean " not 
only the identity of human nature in all its various 
manifestations in all nations and countries, but also as 
implying that in their co-existence these manifestations 
can be connected together as different correlated phases 
of one life, and that in their succession they can be 
shown to be the necessary stages of one process of 
evolution." It is from this point of view alone that 
the facts of religious history become intelligible. So 
various are the religious beliefs of men, so bewildering 
is the conflict of creeds and dogmas, that it seems to 
be difficult, if not impossible, to find any principle of 
law and order underlying them. To reduce to unity 
facts so heterogeneous would appear to be an enterprise 
well nigh hopeless. But the idea of evolution puts into 
our hands the means of transforming what is apparently 
a chaos into a cosmos. " The different religions are not 
merely co-ordinate species varying, one in this direction, 
the other in that, from a single general type. They are, 
in many cases at least, to be regarded as successive stages 
in one process of development, in which the later in- 
cludes and presupposes the earlier." It is as unprofitable 
to ask what is common to the various religious ideas of 
men as to inquire what is common to the infant, the 
child, the youth, and the full-grown man. The meaning 
of an earlier stage of a growing thing becomes intelli- 
gible only from the point of view of the final stage into 
which it develops, and the final stage itself is fully 
understood when it is seen in the light of the process 
of its development. The earliest form of that which 
grows is the most imperfect form of it and furnishes 
very little clue to its real nature. If, therefore, we are 


to acquire an insight into the nature of religion, we 
must consider how it has grown with the growth of the 
human mind and through what stages it has passed in 
the process. Its essential features are most disclosed in 
the latest and highest form of it. In seeking to define 
religion, it is futile to try to discover something common 
to all religions. If any common element is found, it 
cannot have much value, for it would mean leaving out 
of account the distinguishing features of higher reli- 
gions and reducing them to the lowest in the scale. 
What is really necessary is to " look for a principle 
which is bound up with the nature of man, and which, 
therefore, manifests itself in all stages of his develop- 
ment. A definition of religion in this sense, if we can 
attain it, will express an idea which is fully realised only 
in the final form of religion, while in the earlier stages 
it can be seen only obscurely, and in the lowest and 
earliest it might escape us altogether but for the light 
thrown back upon it by that which has arisen out of it. 
It will thus enable us to cast the light of the present 
upon the past, and to explain man's first uncertain efforts 
to name and to realise the divine, in the light of the 
clearer consciousness and more distinct utterance of a 
later age " (Evolution of Religion, Vol. I., pp. 46-47). 

But what is~it that makes religion possible? An 
element of human life which has had such a far-reaching 
influence on it, and the power of which has increased 
rather than diminished with the progress of civilisation, 
must be very closely connected with human nature. 
What then is the root in our intelligence from which 
religion grows ? Why cannot man remain satisfied with 
finite aims and interests, and why does he so persistently 
hanker after the infinite ? The answer which Caird gives 
is that the source of religion is to be found in the pre- 


supposition of our life as rational beings. The con- 
sciousness of object depends upon its distinction from 
and relation to the subject for which it exists. The 
object is the one world of experience "all of whose 
parts are embraced in one connexion of space and all 
of whose changes take place in one connexion of time." 
The self is not a part of this system, for the fundamental 
condition of its existence is that it should oppose itself 
to this system. Just as the centre in relation to which 
the circumference is possible cannot itself be a point 
in the circumference, so the unity of the self to which 
objects as members of a connected whole are necessarily 
referred cannot be one of those objects. The subject 
and the object are at once opposed to and inseparable 
from each other. cc We know the object only as we 
bring it back to the unity of the self, we know the 
subject only as we realise it in the object." But this 
means that subject and object are the opposed mani- 
festations of a principle of unity which goes beyond 
them. Just as the centre and the circumference are the 
opposite counterparts of each other within the unity 
of the circle, so the self and the world have meaning 
in and through their distinction from and relation 
to each other within the all-embracing unity of the 
Absolute mind. The idea of God, therefore, is the 
presupposition of the ideas of subject and object. 
*' Every creature who is capable of the consciousness 
of an objective world and of the consciousness of a 
self is capable also of the consciousness of God. Or, 
to sum up the whole matter in one word, every rational 
being as such is a religious being." 

All this, of course, does not mean that every man 
who has a religious consciousness is acquainted with 
and is a believer in the philosophical theory of the 


relation between the self and the not-self stated above. 
In the reasonings of the most uncultivated man the 
principles of logic are implied, in every sentence which 
he utters the laws of phonetics are illustrated, but he 
neither knows nor has the capacity to know what they 
are. All falling bodies obey the law of gravitation, 
but until Newton came everybody was blind to it. So 
the consciousness of an external world and its distinc- 
tion from and relation to the self that knows depends 
upon a condition of which the unreflecting man has 
no idea. When, however, philosophical reflection 
makes explicit what is implicit in every act of cog- 
nition, it is seen that the essential presupposition of 
knowledge is also the basis of the religious conscious- 
ness. Whoever is conscious of himself as a thinking 
being and distinguishes himself from other things and 
beings, places himself without knowing it at a universal 
point of view, and in this lies the possibility of 

Beneath and beyond our consciousness of ourselves 
and of the outer world there is the consciousness of 
God, of an infinite being who is the source of all that 
is. For this reason religion gives a unity to life " by 
at once allying man with nature, and joining him 
with his fellows in some more or less comprehensive 
society." It " is the expression of his ultimate attitude 
to the universe, the summed up meaning and purport 
of his whole consciousness of things." Because an 
all-embracing unity is the root of his being, man " in 
all his secular consciousness of other objects and of 
himself is necessarily haunted by the idea of something 
which is beyond them, yet in them something* in 
opposition to which they are as nothing, in unity with 
which they are more than they immediately seem to 


be." The idea of infinite is not, as Max Miiller sup- 
poses, a merely negative idea. What lies beyond the 
finite necessarily stands limited by it and is, therefore, 
only another finite. Spencer is more in the right when 
he conceives of the infinite as the positive background 
of the finite, as that through the limitation of which 
the finite arises. It is like the one endless space in 
which particular figures are drawn. But he errs in 
supposing that we have no definite consciousness of it. 
How can a being through relation to which w r e are 
able to perceive the limits of ourselves and others 
be unknown and unknowable ? That in the light of 
which a thing is seen cannot itself be enveloped in 
darkness. Spencer, like Spinoza, reaches the infinite 
by removing all lines of distinction between finite 
things. Thought, however, cannot rest in such a blank 
indeterminate being. The transition to the idea of 
God as a principle of unity self-revealed in the differ- 
ences of things and in the distinction of subject and 
object is inevitable. The infinite is truly conceived 
when it is realised "as the unity which reveals itself 
in all the differences of the finite, especially in the last 
difference of subject and object, and which through 
all these differences remains in unity with itself." It, 
therefore, includes the finite within itself. Max Miiller 
begins with the idea of the finite and then adds the 
infinite to it as something beyond it; Spencer begins 
with the idea of the infinite and then adds to it the 
finite derived from it by limitation. Both, therefore, 
commit practically the same mistake and miss the 
organic relationship between the finite and the infinite. 
The error of Spencer and other thinkers like him is 
to suppose that the relation in actual experience between 
thought and being, subject and object, mind and matter 


is one of opposition only in spite of their parallelism 
and that the explanation of this parallelism is to be 
found in a unity beyond knowledge in which both are 
merged and of which both are phenomenal expressions. 
The truth, however, is that " the feat of combining 
the consciousness of self with that of the not-self is 
performed by us every day and in almost every act 
of thought; for we are constantly putting our inner 
experience in relation to outer experience and our 
outer experience in relation to inner experience." 
Intelligence has meaning only in so far as it finds its 
own content in the intelligible world, and the intel- 
ligible world has for its sustaining principle intelligence. 
The very idea of the separation of the subject from 
the object involves a contradiction. " Our whole 
intellectual life is a continual return upon ourselves 
from the outward world; our whole practical life is a 
continual effort after the realisation of ourselves in the 
outer world." The union of the self and not-self is 
as essential as their division and opposition. If this 
is so, what is proved is that there is a unity beyond 
their opposition, a unity which is not indeterminate 
and barren, but self- determining and productive and 
manifested in the differences of the finite without losing 
its unity with itself. The consciousness of self in 
distinction from the consciousness of the world and 
the consciousness of the world in distinction from the 
consciousness of self, that is to say, involves the 
consciousness of God. 

The idea of God presupposed in all experience is, 
with the progress of the human race, determined wjth 
increasing fulness. The most adequate form of it is 
that in which God is conceived not as an object among 
other objects, nor as a pure self antithetical to the 


object, but as the principle of unity manifested in the 
opposition of the self and the not-self. For the most 
developed religious consciousness, God is immanent in 
the world, in outward things as well as in the mind 
of man. But it is only after a long process of historical 
development that religion takes a form in which its 
meaning finds adequate expression. The stages in the 
evolution of religion are determined by the main 
factors of the idea of God which underlies our con- 
sciousness and in which it culminates. God is subject- 
object. But this comprehensive and synthetic view 
can be attained only after the mind has passed through 
the stages in which He is regarded as object more than 
subject and as subject more than object. The natural 
tendency of the primitive mind is to pay exclusive 
attention to the object and to be absorbed in it, although 
the object has no meaning apart from the subject. By 
degrees self -consciousness is attained and the knowing 
mind learns to distinguish itself from and oppose itself 
to the object it knows. The fundamental condition of 
such distinction and opposition is a unity within which 
it arises. " It is the basis and presupposition of our 
rational life, the atmosphere in which it moves, the 
bond which holds it together." The order of progress, 
therefore, is from the consciousness of objects to the 
consciousness of self and from the consciousness of 
self to the consciousness of God. " We look outward 
before we look inward, and we look inward before we 
look upward." This, however, does not mean that one 
form of consciousness entirely disappears before another 
takes its place. The various elements of life imply 
eadf other, and in the earliest stage of it the elements 
to be found in the later stages are not wholly absent. 
Even when man's consciousness is most objective, he 

H.N.-H, H 


is not altogether without the consciousness of self and 
the consciousness of God. The priority of the con- 
sciousness of outward things to self -consciousness 
and of self -consciousness to the consciousness of God 
" only means that in successive periods each of these 
elements in turn determines the form of our conscious- 
ness and so becomes the mould in which all our ideas 
and ideals are cast." In the first stage of the develop- 
ment of the religious consciousness, the idea of God 
assumes a predominantly objective form; in the second, 
He is viewed as a pure spirit standing apart from nature 
and bearing no essential relation to it; and in the third, 
He is realised as the life and soul of all that is, as the 
universal mind from which all things proceed and to 
which all things return. 

Religion, like everything else connected with human 
life, is a subject of development. Between one stage 
of its growth and another, there is no breach of con- 
tinuity, however dissimilar to each other these stages 
may seem to be. The identity of religion is always 
preserved in the midst of its changing forms. The 
whole meaning of it is implicitly present even in its 
most elementary form. This is the reason why ideas 
characteristic of the highest religion are, often, vaguely 
anticipated by religions low down in the scale. Religion 
is essentially a consciousness of the infinite bound up 
with the consciousness of the finite and presupposed in 
the duality of the self and the not- self, and it is there- 
fore not surprising that even in his most primitive 
condition man should sometimes have glimpses of the 
highest truth. The consciousness of God does not 
assume its proper form until the final stages of its 
evolution are reached. Its first form is objective. The 
visible and the tangible is all that the savage 


appreciate, and his idea of God, therefore, is necessarily 
cast into the objective mould. God is regarded not as 
a spiritual being immanent in things but as one object 
among other objects. The primitive consciousness 
materialises everything. For it the universal can exist 
only as something particular. Nevertheless, the object 
to which divinity is attributed is charged with a 
meaning wholly beyond its form, and, consequently, in 
order that it may be possible to worship it, it is neces- 
sary to free it from its limitations and to raise it above 
other objects. The natural, in short, can take the place 
of the spiritual only after imagination has transfigured 
it. In this way, from the very beginning of religion, 
its inner meaning reacts against and modifies its outer 
form, until, finally, it completely breaks away from 
everything objective and takes a shape more appropriate 
to it. 

Religion is most intimately connected with the prac- 
tical life of man and is not a mere matter of theory. 
As it involves the consciousness, although at first only 
implicitly, of a principle of unity beneath the differences 
of things, it not only unites us with nature but with 
our fellow-men as well. " To take a religious view of 
life is not only to see a divine agency in the world; it 
is to recognise that agency as a power which, in lifting 
us above ourselves, unites us to other individuals and 
them to us." But when God is conceived as an object, 
the bond which unites men with each other and with 
Him necessarily fails to be apprehended as spiritual and 
is supposed to be one of natural relationship. It is 
only the tie of the same blood. God is the principle 
of "unity of a society because the members of it are 
represented as descended from Him. Different tribes, 
therefore, are regarded as having different gods, and 


we have a plurality of gods in consequence. The 
breaking up of a growing tribe into several tribes or 
the fusion of different tribes into one also leads to a 
multiplication of gods. Further, as fresh aspects of 
nature are discovered new divinities are introduced to 
give expression to them. Objective religion, from its 
very nature, is polytheistic. But side by side with the 
tendency to increase the number of gods is found an 
opposite tendency to reduce them to unity. "The 
very attitude of worship is an attitude of devotion, of 
absolute self -surrender, which in the intensity of its 
feeling excludes all reservation and so tends to lift its 
object beyond all the limits which at other times may 
be recognised for it." With the development of a 
broader national consciousness and the attainment of 
the capacity to look at things from a comprehensive 
standpoint, there arises the idea of a God to whom 
family and tribal deities are subordinated. Ultimately 
this generalising tendency culminates in the absorption 
of the multiplicity of finite gods into an abstract 
and indeterminate being and pantheism is the result. 
Religion "can save itself from such an euthanasia, such 
a gradual loss of all positive content or meaning, only 
by abandoning the purely objective representation of 
God, and by recognising that in the inner life of the 
self or subject, there is a higher revelation of Him 
than can be found in any object as such, or even in the 
whole world of objects." 

Midway between objective religion and subjective 
religion stands the religion of Greece. It represents the 
stage of transition from the former to the latter. The 
gods of the Greek pantheon are not merely personified 
objects or forces of nature, but are humanised and 
individualised beings, differing from man only in respect 


of their greater wisdom and power and freedom from 
mortality and its consequences. In most of the objec- 
tive religions, things farthest from man and utterly 
dissimilar to him are regarded as divine beings, mainly 
in consequence of their vastness and power, but the 
Greek religion looks upon man as the highest of natural 
objects and, on this ground, takes him to be nearest 
to God. But he is still conceived more as an object 
than as a subject, and therefore, in spite of its affinity 
to subjective religion, the religion of Greece remains 
a naturalistic polytheism. Conceiving of the Deity 
under the form of man, its tendency is towards the 
idea of Him as a subject; but it is not actually a 
subjective religion, because as yet man is viewed not 
so much as a spiritual being having an inner life as 
as an object. 

Although our first idea of the divine is that it is an 
object, yet what is worshipped as god is by the poetic 
imagination raised above other objects and made the sym- 
bol of some universal principle. A merely finite thing 
connected with other finite things in time and space is 
neither beautiful nor sacred. In the object regarded 
as a god, the religious consciousness apprehends some- 
thing more than what immediately meets the eye. The 
universal without which nothing particular is possible 
is in it envisaged in a sensuous form, for, in the infancy 
of the human race, the mind is unable to grasp an idea 
without giving to it a body and form. But the growing 
spirit of man cannot long remain in this condition. A 
time must come when the universal is disengaged from 
aad opposed to the particular. The principle of unity 
of all things cannot be permanently treated as a par- 
ticular thing. Mythology, that is, must, in due course, 
be replaced by the matter-of-fact consciousness. "The 


fair unity of poetry, in which fact and thought are 
blended together, must be broken up into the prosaic 
consciousness of fact on the one side, and the prosaic 
consciousness of law on the other." The strength of 
the positivistic spirit lies in its refusal to go beyond 
facts and in its conception of them as necessarily related 
to each other as elements of the one world. Its weak- 
ness lies in banishing from the world all ideal elements 
which appeal to the aesthetic and the religious con- 
sciousness. In its estimation, what is not fact is not 
true. It is impossible to meet its argument by 
supposing that while nature is ordinarily subject to 
necessary laws, its uniform course is occasionally inter- 
fered with by supernatural agencies extraneous to it. 
There could not be anything " above nature anywhere, 
if there were not something above nature every- 
where." There is nothing in nature which can be finally 
explained by means of mechanical principles alone. 
Science is perfectly justified in abstracting from many 
necessary elements of the world in order to interpret 
it from its own special points of view. But what is 
abstracted from must not be altogether forgotten. The 
ordinary attitude of mind in which the object alone is 
supposed to be real is encouraged and strengthened by 
science. But the scientific conception of things is not 
the ultimate conception. The final meaning and ex- 
planation of things is to be found only in a principle 
of reason akin to the mind of man. The basis of 
positivism is the ordinary view of things in which no 
notice is taken of the subject for which they exist. Yet 
the world of objects is a false abstraction apart from 
its relation to the subject. If the intelligible world is 
to be rightly understood, attention must be paid to its 
relation to intelligence. The results of science must 


be reinterpreted from the point of view of the 
unity that transcends the opposition of subject and 

In the evolution of the religious consciousness, then, 
before God can be known in His proper form as the 
unity beyond the difference of subject and object, it is 
logically necessary to pass through the stages in which 
He is conceived first as object and then as subject. 
Upon the self to which all objects are relative, we are 
bound sooner or later to recoil. Failing to find God 
in the outer world of change and decay, man by a 
natural reaction is inevitably led to seek for Him in 
his own soul, and the religion in which God is viewed 
as an external object gives place to subjective religion. 
The main types of subjective religion are Buddhism, 
Stoicism and Judaism. The first represents the 
extremest form of it, in which the subject is completely 
withdrawn from the object. The world, in its eye, is 
a vain show only, and the wise man is he who extin- 
guishes his passions and desires that attach him to it 
and retires into the solitude of a purely inner life. Even 
the individual self is an illusion and is to be destroyed. 
The will to live is the source of all evil, and, in order 
to attain the salvation of Nirvana, it is necessary to get 
rid of it. Buddhism arose out of a reaction against the 
superstitions of Brahminic polytheism, and in the days 
of its triumph rendered great service to humanity. 
" Not even in the New Testament do we find the royal 
law, not to return evil for evil but to overcome evil 
with good, more explicitly announced than in the 
etkical writings of the Buddhists." But " in its recoil 
upon the inner life of the subject, it overbalanced 
itself and ultimately lost all things, even the subject 
itself, in the silence of Nirvana." It may, therefore, 


be regarded as the reductio ad absurdum of subjective 

Stoicism, like Buddhism, is the outcome of a reaction 
against the objective attitude of mind, but it differs 
from Buddhism in thinking that " the universal principle 
is realised in each man as an individual self." According 
to it, the highest good does not consist in the absorption 
of the individual into the universal, for reason in the 
individual is the same as universal reason. In each 
man, therefore, it is possible for the absolute good to 
be realised. That good lies in turning away from every- 
thing external and in living a life determined solely by 
reason. But in virtue of the identity of human reason 
with divine reason, determination by the inner law of 
reason is at the same time determination by God. What 
is most individual is thus at a stroke transformed into 
what is most universal. This contradiction is due to 
" seeking the absolute in the subject as opposed to, and 
exclusive of, the object; while, by its very definition as 
the absolute, it must transcend this distinction." 

The highest form of subjective religion is Judaism. 
In it, nature is not divorced from but subordinated to 
spirit. It does not reveal God. At most, such things 
as the tempest, the earthquake and the thunder of Sinai 
are only the symbols of the divine. In the presence 
of a transcendent God, nature dwindles into nothing. 
It is His creation only which He can preserve or destroy 
at pleasure, and not His living garment. God is a 
spiritual being exalted above nature and revealed only 
in the inner life of man. His relation to human beings 
is more like that of the lord to his subjects than that 
of the father to his children. Every man stands in an 
ethical relationship to Him and is accountable to Him. 
The moral law comes directly from Him and is revealed 


to man through the medium of his conscience. The 
moral responsibility of each individual, therefore, is 
separate, and the relation of all men to God is the same. 
It is true that Judaism begins as a national religion 
with a naturalistic basis like objective religion, but, in 
the course of its development, it continually tends, in 
spite of numerous lapses, to break away from its limita- 
tions and to attain the consciousness " that each indi- 
vidual spirit of man has an inward relation to the Father 
of spirits, the God who is the source at once of all 
spiritual and of all natural existence." To do the will 
of the Lord, to conform to the moral law in all his 
actions, is, according to it, the highest duty of man. 
What is is not what ought to be, and, therefore, to make 
the real conform to the ideal is the great end of every 
individual. It is an infinite task, for the carrying out 
of which constant struggle against selfish desires and 
natural inclinations is necessary. As a natural being 
man does not fulfil the moral law which, as a spiritual 
being, he must fulfil. Made in the image of God, he 
is immeasurably superior to merely natural objects, but 
in the presence of an absolutely holy will, he shrinks 
into utter insignificance. " The closeness of the relation, 
and at the same time the disproportion of the relation, 
between God and man, oppress the soul with an awe 
from which it cannot liberate itself." If man is infinitely 
great, he is also infinitely little. The burden laid upon 
him is to make the facts of actual life conform to the 
inner ideal. The ideal ought to be realised. However 
unbridgeable the gulf between the ideal and the real 
may seem to be at present, an ultimate reconciliation 
between them is certain. Nothing in the long run can 
prevail against the righteous will. As a faithful ser- 
vant of the Lord, man must fight on, no matter how 


tremendous the odds against him may seem to be, and 
he may be sure of victory in the end. God is certain 
to bring the course of the world into conformity with 
the moral ideal in the fulness of time. This essentially 
militant and prophetic attitude of the Jewish religion 
differentiates it from all religions of the objective type. 
To the contemplative pantheism in which objective 
religions culminate, God is present everywhere. He is 
revealed in the world as it is, and the religious mind, 
therefore, is in perfect harmony with it. No discrepancy 
is felt between the ideal and the real, and there is an 
easy tolerance for everything. There is no struggle, 
no hope, no aspiration, but joyous contemplation only. 
All that is is good, for the world is the very temple in 
which God dwells. In God, as revealed in nature and 
man, the pious soul finds its rest. But for a subjective 
religion like Judaism, God is manifested not without 
but " in the categorical imperative of a law of righteous- 
ness." It " commits man to an endless war with nature 
and circumstance, and an endless effort to realise the 
kingdom of God upon earth." Its ideal is not to be 
restful and contemplative, but to wage unceasing war- 
fare against all forms of evil in order to realise a 
perfection to be found nowhere on earth. No greater 
contrast is imaginable than that which exists between 
objective religion and subjective religion. " For, on 
the one side, we find the religious mind laying all its 
emphasis on the idea that God is immanent in the 
world; that, indeed, the world is nothing but the gar- 
ment of deity; and that, therefore, its apparent imper- 
fection and evil exist only for us^ in so far as we fail 
to see the unity which underlies all its difference and 
change and which is continually bringing them back 
to itself. And, on the other side, we find the religious 


mind dwelling on the idea of God as a transcendent 
Being, who separates Himself from all the creatures He 
has made from nature as its creator, and from man as 
his stern and righteous judge; and we find it regard- 
ing the whole process of human life in the light of 
an ideal which condemns it as imperfect and evil " 
(Evolution of Religion, Vol. II., pp. 13-14). 

In spite of its conception of God as spirit and its 
moral idealism, the religion of Israel is as one-sided as 
the objective religions to which it is opposed. It is 
as impossible to think of God as a subject only nega- 
tively related to the object as to think of Him as an 
object, for He is the unity that transcends the distinc- 
tion of subject and object. In the religious development 
of man, it is, no doubt, necessary to realise the import- 
ance of the subjective, but it will not do to forget that 
the subjective is an empty abstraction apart from its 
relation to the objective world. Conceiving of God 
as a transcendent Being, subjective religion removes the 
bond that unites man with his follow-men and nature. 
" It sets the individual man alone with himself and 
with God, and makes him regard everything else as 
comparatively indifferent." For this reason, it fails to 
idealise the world and misses the truth as completely 
as objective religion. " A spiritualism which despises 
nature, a monotheism which separates God from His 
world, and a subjective morality which divorces the 
inner from the outer life and breaks the organic bond 
between the individual and society, these cannot be 
conceived as a final goal of progress in which man can 

The reconciling principle of Christianity mediates 
between subjective religion and objective religion and 
reduces them to elements of a fuller truth. " In Chris- 


tianity religion has risen to its own true form." God 
is no longer conceived as an object of nature, or as a 
pure spirit exalted above nature, but as mind self- 
revealed in nature and, more fully, in the individual 
and social life of man. The monotheism of the Jewish 
religion and the pantheism of the Hindus are reconciled 
with each other in the higher synthesis of Christianity. 
The Christian idea of God is that of a Being who 
overcomes the differences of the world not by simply 
setting them aside but by realising Himself in them. 
He is manifested more fully in human history than in 
the processes of the outer world, and is not equally in 
all things, " as full and perfect in a hair as heart." The 
spirituality of God must not be understood to mean 
a denial of His immanence in nature. He is revealed 
" in the upward process of nature to humanity, as 
well as in the farther process whereby human life 
rises towards the attainment of its highest ideal." In 
Christianity the antithesis of the subjective and the 
objective, the spiritual and the natural is transcended 
and God is comprehended in His true nature as the 
Universal Mind who manifests Himself in and yet 
distinguishes Himself from the world. He is the 
spiritual bond of union of all men. " The unity of man 
with God finds its adequate manifestation only in a 
unity of all men with each other a unity to which both 
individual and national differences are subordinated." 
Man's unity with God implies his unity with his fellow- 
beings, and his unity with his fellow-beings implies his 
unity with God. The conception of God as manifested 
in the world leads necessarily to the conception of 
human beings as members of one "divine-human 

Such an idea enables Christianity to overcome the 


antithesis of the real and the ideal, of what is and what 
ought to be, which is most pronounced in later Judaism. 
The opposition is not glossed over, but it is perceived 
that it is not absolute. The ideal is not something to 
be attained in the dim and distant future, but is* the 
deepest nature of what already is. The Jewish mind 
is more and more inclined to abandon the present to a 
power of evil and to look for the triumph of righteous- 
ness in the future, through the miraculous intervention 
of God. But Christianity, while admitting the anta- 
gonism of the ideal and the real, points out that there 
is a principle of unity beyond them and that here and 
now it is manifested in what seems to be most opposed 
to it. " The kingdom of God is already in the midst 
of you," this is the burden of the teaching of Jesus. 
Christianity therefore is not a religion of prophecy, but 
one of fulfilment and fruition. In its view, the good 
does not exclude the evil but triumphs over it and 
retains it as a negated element of itself. "Evil is or 
appears to be triumphant, because its immediate triumph 
is necessary to its final extinction." " There is a soul 
of goodness in things evil," and however unpromising 
things may appear for the moment, they are sure, in 
the end, to be turned into the very means of establish- 
ing the supremacy of the good. The ideal is not to 
be realised some time in the future all at once cata- 
strophically, but is being realised here and now even 
in the midst of the failures and miseries of life, and 
will continue to be realised more and more fully as the 
years roll on. The optimism of Christianity does not 
evade the facts on which pessimism is based. On the 
contrary, it accords full recognition to them and shows 
how their existence points to a principle of righteous- 
ness which is continually overruling them. It is not 


the optimism of the lucky man for whom life has been 
one long Lord Mayor's day, but of the man of sorrow 
fully conversant with the sufferings and evils of life. 
" The greatest optimist whom the world has ever seen " 
is represented in the Gospels as " bearing the sins and 
sorrows of men." No matter how forbidding the darker 
aspects of life may be, Christianity is convinced that 
nothing can withstand the power of good and that evil 
exists in order to be conquered. "It is this certainty of 
ultimate triumph, this combination of the despair of 
pessimism with an optimism that overreaches and over- 
powers it, nay even that absorbs it as an element into 
itself, which constitutes the unique character of the 
religion of Jesus." 

Like religion in general, Christianity also has had 
its evolution, and its full meaning is revealed only in 
the highest and latest forms of it. But its germinal 
idea is already expressed in the life and teaching of 
Christ. The keynote of that teaching is that God is 
not merely an Almighty Being before whom men are 
to tremble in fear, but the Father of Spirits in whom 
they live, move and have their being. The opposition 
between God and man is not absolute. It presupposes 
a deeper principle of unity of which it is possible for 
all men to be explicitly conscious. Jesus claims the 
sonship of God not for Himself alone but for all men. 
Everyone can say, " I and my Father are one." It is 
true that the unity of the human and the divine, the 
finite and the infinite, is the basic idea of pantheism 
also, but the pantheist attains this unity by making 
the finite disappear in the infinite. Jesus, on the con- 
trary, proclaims that God is not of the dead but* of 
the living. He does not absorb man into Himself, 
but reveals Himself in his life. In order to live a 


life of union with God man must rise above his 
particular self and identify himself with the wider 
life of humanity. This does not mean mere ascetic 
renunciation of the self. It is to die in order to live. 
The way to self-realisation lies through self-renuncia- 
tion. He who subordinates himself to the whole gains 
the fuller life of the whole. " The sacrifice of selfishness 
is the birth of the true self." God is manifested in 
nature and in the community of men, and man can 
truly realise himself and be conscious of his oneness 
with God through union with his fellow-men only 
and not in selfish isolation. " He that saveth his life 
shall lose it, and he that loseth his life shall save 

This principle, of course, is the basis of all morality, 
and cannot be said to have been brought into the world 
by Christianity. What Christianity has done is to 
make the recognition of it explicit and constant. Before 
its advent, this principle, if recognised at all, was 
recognised along with other principles incompatible 
with it. Only the members of a specially privileged 
race were supposed to be capable of the higher life. 
Others were simply left out of account. The Jew 
had no idea of brotherhood with the Gentile, nor the 
Greek of brotherhood with the barbarian. But with 
Jesus " The principle breaks away from these limits 
and shows its positive value. God is again brought 
near to man as the Father of all, the universal prin- 
ciple of social unity. All absolute exclusions of indi- 
vidual by individual or of nation by nation are 
abolished." It is seen that man as a self-conscious 
bein]g rooted in God " is at war with himself so long 
as he is at war with any of his fellow-men." 

Christianity is essentially a universal religion. But 


before it could appeal to the minds of men of all 
races and nationalities, it needed to be freed from the 
accidents of its first expression and its close association 
with the incidents of the life of its founder. Only 
one who was not an immediate disciple of Jesus and 
stood at some distance from him was fitted to do this 
work. Such a man was St. Paul. For him Christianity 
was a religion not for the Jews only, but for the whole 
world. He universalised the meaning of it and laid 
stress on the new idea of the relation of man and 
God which it introduced into the world. That mean- 
ing is exemplified in the death and resurrection of 
Christ. The kingdom of God is established not by a 
Messiah who conquers the world by force, but by one 
who shows that the life of spirit is attained only 
through the renunciation of the natural self. Christ's 
death on the cross and his resurrection is the outward 
symbol of "a moral death to sin and a rising again 
to newness of life in his followers." The great lesson 
which it teaches is that "man's salvation must result 
from his giving himself up to a Power which is 
revealing itself in all that is within and without him, 
apart from which he is nothing, but as the organ of 
which he is reconciled with himself and has therefore 
all outward good things added to him." 

In generalising the lesson of Christ, however, St. 
Paul fails to do justice to the human element in his 
nature. He regards the earthly career of Jesus as a 
mere interlude between a life in heaven before his 
birth and a life in heaven after his death. He, in 
this way, ignores the most important teaching of Jesus 
that man is one with God. The one essential messkge 
which the founder of Christianity had for mankind is 
that God is not God without man and man is not 


man without God. The finite and the infinite, the 
human and the divine are organically related elements 
of an indivisible whole. This great truth is somewhat 
obscured in the teaching of St. Paul, who freed 
Christianity from its early Jewish limitations and 
proclaimed it as the universal religion for all men. In 
the Gospel of St. John the divine and the human are 
once more brought together and Christ is conceived 
as the man in whom the Word is made flesh. The 
universal meaning of Christianity is brought into 
relation to the actual human life of Jesus, although it 
was idealised and dissociated from the conditions and 
circumstances of a Jewish nationality. Christ is repre- 
sented as " divine just because he is the most human 
of men, the man in whom the universal spirit of 
humanity has found its fullest expression," and, on 
the other hand, " as the ideal or typical man, the Son 
of Man who reveals what is in humanity, just because 
He is the purest revelation of God in man." 

The Christian doctrine, as contained in germ in the 
New Testament, had to pass through a long course of 
development before it transformed the ideas of the 
western world and assumed a fully matured form. It 
came into contact with the civilisation and culture of 
the Greeko-Roman world and the mind of the bar- 
barians who destroyed that civilisation, absorbed various 
elements from them and turned them into the means 
of its own growth. It had, in the first instance, to 
struggle for supremacy with ideas more or less alien 
to it, and, in consequence, lost much of its original 
purity and catholicity, but it ended by making them 
instrumental to its attainment of a higher and more 
complex form. Christianity shows its supremacy to 
all other religions by incorporating them into and 

H.N.-H. I 


reducing them to mutually complementary elements 
of itself. In its evolution it sways from side to side 
and alternately approximates to objective and subjective 
religions, without ceasing altogether to be a religion 
in its proper form, before becoming a truly universal 
religion. Under the influence of the Greek, particularly 
the Neo-Platonic, dualism of matter and spirit and as 
understood by the barbarians who externalised every- 
thing, the religion whose mission it was to proclaim 
the unity of God and man, of mind and nature, became 
predominantly objective in its spirit and outlook. Until 
the Reformation, Christianity was more occupied with 
the other work}, than .with this. Its conception of God 
was objective and polytheistic rather than subjective 
and monotheistic, and its morality ascetic. Intellect 
was subordinated to the Church, and a system of 
discipline was set up whose aim was to bring man 
into subjection to a divine law supposed to be exter- 
nally imposed upon him and of which the Church 
alone was the interpreter. The great teaching, " the 
kingdom of God is already in your midst," was for- 
gotten, and this world came to be regarded as a foreign 
country where we are only temporary sojourners and 
release from which is the one thing to be devoutly 
wished for. 

But the matter of a religion whose principle is to 
overcome dualism was bound to react against and 
prevail over its objective form. After the Reformation 
there took place an inevitable reaction and Christianity 
assumed a form closely similar to Judaism. God was 
conceived as a pure spirit with whom man's relation 
is intimate and direct. The end of life was taken to 
be not ascetic mortification of the self, but the realisa- 
tion of its many and varied capacities. The supremacy 


of reason over everything was proclaimed, and stress 
was laid upon the rights and liberty of man. The 
medieval other-worldliness was discarded and the duty 
of establishing the kingdom of God on earth empha- 
sised. But though in all this the Reformation corrected 
the errors of the Catholic Church of the Middle Ages 
which reproduced the features of objective religion, it 
was equally one-sided. Its great defect was to pit 
the inward against the outward, the subjective life of 
the individual against all objective interests. But the 
soul that has got rid of all outer limitations soon 
reduces itself to utter emptiness. An extreme indi- 
vidualism is bound ultimately to destroy itself. How- 
ever great may have been the services of Protestantism 
to the world, it cannot be denied that it was the source 
of " the disease of introspection and self- contemplation 
which puts the exaggerated image of the self between 
the individual and the world, between the individual 
and his fellow-men, and even between the individual 
and God. 55 From this "great plague of our spiritual 
life 55 the modern world is slowly recovering. 

The problem of the present age, concludes Caird, 
is to bring together with clear insight the elements 
of Christianity which, in the course of its evolution, 
tended to fall apart from each other. This has been 
done by the philosophical Christianity of the present 
day. For it there is no absolute distinction between 
the natural and the spiritual, the human and the divine, 
the secular and the religious. It rises above the 
limitations of a paganised Christianity and a Judaised 
Christianity and thinks of God not as a transcendent 
being somewhere beyond the world, but as self-revealed 
in nature and in human society. The moral life does 
not consist in turning away^ from the world and in 


repressing our natural tendencies, but in abandoning 
a life of selfish isolation in order to realise ourselves 
as members of the one universal society. The supreme 
duty of everyone is to contribute towards the destruc- 
tion of the artificial barriers which have hitherto kept 
men apart from each other, so that " all men, even the 
lowest and most wretched, may be made sharers in the 
great heritage of humanity." The true service of God 
is the service of man. The essence of the Christian 
spirit is to see God in all things and in all the concerns 
of life and not to fix one's gaze upon another world. 
Only by cultivating this spirit will it be possible for 
a religion fitted to satisfy modern requirements to 
"cope with all the unsolved problems of the present, 
without losing itself in anarchy, revolt, and nihilism; 
or in vague socialistic schemes which, even if they 
could succeed, would satisfy only the hunger of the 

If there is one thing more than another on which 
Caird, in all his writings, constantly insists, it is that 
the world is not merely related to God but is the 
manifestation of God. No one who has learned the 
lesson of idealism can take exception to this view. 
But the question is, is the world, as we know it, the 
complete expression of the Divine Mind? Of that 
which constitutes the content of the Divine Mind, 
comprehensiveness and coherence must be essential 
features. All its elements must be in such transparent 
unity with each other as to show that they form a 
self-contained and harmonious whole, not pointing to 
anything beyond it. The facts of the world of our 
experience are not of this nature. They plainly betray 
their incompleteness, and their failure to express a 
consistent meaning is obvious. But if the teaching 


of idealism is not false, they must nevertheless have 
such a meaning. For this conviction ground is pro- 
vided only if we suppose that the incomplete world 
of our experience is a constituent element of a larger 
world in which alone the Absolute Mind is fully 
embodied. Modern idealism rejects the view that God 
is apart from the world and conceives of Him as im- 
manent in it. This, however, has, not without reason, 
seemed to many to identify God with nature too closely. 
In order to avoid this result without relapsing into 
dualism it has been held by some that God is both 
immanent and transcendent. If this means that God, 
in so far as He is not manifested in the world known 
to us, is not manifested at all, one has only to remember 
Hegel's repeated observation that it is -the very nature 
of^ God to reveal Himself. God may not be fully 
revealed in nature, but if the idealistic contention that 
subject without object is unmeaning is sound, He must 
be conceived as revealed in a world of which nature 
is but a part. What is called the book of nature is 
not really a book, but only a chapter of a book with 
which, at present, we are not acquainted. Much of 
this chapter is enigmatical to us, because we do not 
know what the context is which alone can throw light 
on its meaning. 

If we take this view, it will be possible for us to 
accept the medieval distinction between this world and 
another world beyond this, in a new sense. The dis- 
tinction is not between a purely material world and a 
purely spiritual world, but between two spheres of one 
anjj the same world which, superficially viewed, is 
material, but, when thoroughly comprehended, is seen 
to be spiritual. The unseen universe, as consisting 
of facts, is bound to be as material, if by c material ' 


we understand what is objective to thought, as the 
visible universe, but the presupposition and ground 
of both is spirit. Spiritual life, therefore, can be lived 
quite as much in our present abode as in any other 
possible sphere. Caird's contention that Christianity 
as the Absolute Religion removes the distinction be- 
tween the secular and the religious and proclaims the 
kingdom of heaven to be in our very midst, if only 
we have the eye of faith to see it, is indisputable; 
but it is not inconsistent with the belief that God's 
kingdom is continued and further developed in other 
worlds, differing from this not in kind but in the 
details of their constitutive features. Indeed, such a 
belief would seem to be demanded by the failures and 
tragedies of our present life. However staunch our 
faith in the rationality of the universe may be, how- 
ever robust our optimism, it is not easy to reconcile 
the actual facts of experience with belief in the ulti- 
mate triumph of reason and goodness, if to this world 
only our vision be limited. But there is nothing 
unphilosophical in the notion that the present world 
is only an antechamber to a more spacious apartment 
where alone we can permanently dwell and fully 
develop our nature. " In my Father's house are many 



THE religious aspect of Neo-Hegelianism is nowhere 
presented more lucidly and more attractively than in 
the pages of the eminent theologjap John Caird. He 
was the eldest brother of Edward Caird, and was, like 
him, an ardent believer in the main principles of HegePs 
philosophy. So charming is his style, so brilliant is 
his power of exposition, that the reader, whether he 
agrees with him or not, can hardly be ever in doubt 
about his meaning. It is difficult to present abstruse 
philosophical ideas more clearly and effectively than 
John Caird has done. As masterpieces of literature, 
quite apart from their philosophical merit, his works 
undoubtedly occupy a very high place. Caird, says his 
brother, " was interested in Hegel mainly by two 
things; first by the thoroughness with which he carries 
out the idealistic principles, and, secondly, by the 
strong grasp of ethical and religious experience which 
is perhaps HegePs greatest characteristic " (Funda- 
mental Ideas of Christianity, L., xxiv). He shared 
to the full Hegel's conviction that " the hidden being 
of the universe has no power in itself that could offer 
resistance to the courageous effort of science," and, 
therefore, had no patience with those who make use 
of idealism for the defence of religious truths and 
yet shrink from its legitimate conclusions. He agreed 



with Hegel in thinking that the only safe foundation 
of religion is reason which contains as elements of 
itself feeling and will. The truths of religion which 
by most men are, in the first instance, intuitively 
apprehended, must, in the end, be capable of being 
translated into the language of reason. 

Of Caird's Introduction to the Philosophy of Re- 
ligion Green truly says that " it represents a thorough 
assimilation by an eminent Scottish theologian, who 
is also known as a most powerful preacher and teacher, 
of Hegel's philosophy of religion. At the same time, 
it is quite an original work original, if not with the 
highest kind of originality, which appears but once in 
a century, yet with that which shows itself in the 
independent interpretation and application of a philo- 
sophical system very remote from our ordinary ways 
of thinking. An Englishman to whom the language 
and prolix technicalities of Hegel's writings or rather 
of that ill-organised compilation of notes of lectures 
in which alone his doctrine is preserved form a 
hindrance to profitable study, will here find the essence 
of what he had to say on the most interesting of 
subjects, presented by a master of style" (Works, 
Vol. III., p. 138). Caird presents Hegel's thoughts 
on religion so fully and exhaustively that, as Green 
says, " a student who wished to know what Hegel 
had to say about religion would not lose anything of 
importance by taking Dr. Caird as his interpreter." 

Closely following Hegel, Caird endeavours to show 
that religion is essentially rational and not the object 
of blind faith. But any attempt to make faith intel- 
ligent and intelligible, to treat of religious ideas 
scientifically, is met, at the very outset, by the objec- 
tion that religion is concerned with the supernatural. 


with the unconditioned and Absolute as distinguished 
from the relative and phenomenal, which alone is 
accessible to us, and is, therefore, incapable of scientific 
and philosophical treatment. The sphere of religion, 
it is held, is the unknown and unknowable background 
of natural phenomena, and the effort of thought to 
unravel its mysteries is, in consequence, bound to be 
futile. Caird does not deny that the subject-matter 
of religion is different from the objects with which 
the ordinary sciences have to deal and requires for its 
study a method very different from the usual procedure 
of science. But this is not what the agnostic philo- 
sophers mean. Their contention is that to know is to 
distinguish, limit and relate. Only the finite, therefore, 
can be known. To know the infinite or the uncon- 
ditioned is to subject it to the conditions of knowledge, 
which is impossible. All human knowledge being 
relative, it is for ever impossible for us to know God 
or the Absolute. But, asks Caird, if this argument 
is valid, how is it possible even to affirm the existence 
of the Absolute? To deny that we have the con- 
sciousness of the Absolute is impossible, for the 
assertion that we know phenomena only would be 
meaningless except by an implicit reference to the 
infinite. If we knew finite things only, it would be 
impossible for us to characterise them as finite. The 
knowledge of a limit involves the transcendence of 
it. But if we think coherently, "we cannot deny all 
consciousness of the Absolute in order to maintain 
that human knowledge is limited, and in the same 
breath assert a consciousness of the Absolute in order 
to justify our cognisance of that limitation." The 
only legitimate conclusion Which follows from the 
agnostic premiss is not, as Spencer maintains, that we 


have an indefinite consciousness of the Absolute, but 
that no such being exists. Even a vague consciousness 
of the Absolute is some positive knowledge of it, and 
if we have this minimum of knowledge, the whole 
theory of relativity on which agnosticism is based falls 
to the ground. 

The truth is that the Absolute, as the agnostic 
conceives it, is a false abstraction. He first supposes 
it to be out of all relation to thought and then imagines 
that it undergoes a transformation of its nature by 
coming into relation to thought. But a reality beyond 
thought and unrelated to thought is only a chimera. 
What is ultimately real is through and through spiritual, 
something which exists for thought and is the embodi- 
ment of thought. Thought and being, subject and 
object, can no more be separated from each other than 
the North Pole from the South Pole or the concave 
side of an arch from the convex side. The Absolute, 
rightly viewed, is not an unknowable entity bearing 
no relation to thought, but is mind self -expressed in 
a system of things or a system of things centred in 
mind. Finite things as related to each other have for 
their presupposition the Absolute mind, and the Abso- 
lute mind has for its content the connected system of 
things. The finite and the infinite, the Absolute and 
the relative, have no meaning apart from each other. 
" What remains when we segregate being from know- 
ing, reality from thought, is not an unknowable some- 
thing, but utter nonentity." It is true that there are 
innumerable objects beyond the knowledge of any 
particular mind or of all particular minds. But to t say 
that things exist independently of my mind is not to 
say that they exist independently of mind. "Nothing 
can have any reality for us save as it is capable of 


entering into thought or is, in itself, a thinkable 
reality; but the thought which is in nature and in man, 
in all things and beings, is not a thought which we 
create but which we find in them, not a system of 
relations which our minds can make or unmake, but 
which we discern or discover a rationality which is 
independent of us but to which our reason responds " 
(Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion, new 
edition, p. 22). So far from the Absolute being in- 
capable of being apprehended by us, its essential nature 
is to reveal itself to us and in us. 

But, it may be argued, although the knowledge of 
God is not impossible for us, such knowledge is direct 
and immediate and not the product of philosophical 
reflection. We know God intuitively; the assurance 
of His existence does not arise from any reasoning 
process, but from an experience which raises us above 
the things of time and space and brings us into living 
contact with Him. Caird's answer to this contention 
is that it is not necessary to deny the intuitive character 
of religious knowledge in order to vindicate the claim 
of philosophy that it alone can give us the most 
adequate idea of God. But it is necessary to remember 
that what seems to be immediate and certain is not 
always so and may be the outcome of unconscious or 
forgotten processes of reasoning, and that so far from 
being true, it may often be nothing more than some 
inherited prejudice or superstition. The function of 
thought is not to supersede immediate knowledge but 
to critically examine it and bring out its inherent 
rationality, if it has any. Philosophy does not seek 
to produce religious faith any more than aesthetics seeks 
to make men poetical or logic to make them capable 
of reasoning. Nobody wants to substitute scientific 


for intuitive knowledge. But there is no reason why, 
although we begin with intuition, we should not 
advance to knowledge based on reflective thought. 
Between the life of faith and philosophical meditation 
there is no incompatibility whatever. " Faith is but 
implicit reason, reason working intuitively and uncon- 
sciously, and therefore without reflection or criticism 
of its own operations." But " faith speaks, and neces- 
sarily speaks, in the language of one world, the world 
of sense and sight, concerning the things of another 
world, the world unseen and eternal " (Fundamental 
Ideas of Christianity, Vol. I., p. 55). The aim of 
philosophical thought is " to translate the necessarily 
inadequate language in which ordinary thought repre- 
sents spiritual truth into that which is fitted to express 
its purely ideal reality. 5 ' In accomplishing this task, 
it has, in the first instance, to resolve the content of 
immediate and living experience into its distinguishable 
aspects, and to this analytical procedure much of its 
apparent narrowness and coldness is due. It seems to 
deal only with barren abstractions. But reason is not 
to be confused with the merely analytical understand- 
ing. The analysis which it makes is only " a necessary 
step in that progress by which we are to substitute for 
the rude unities of popular observation the real and 
profounder unities of thought of identity of principle 
under diversities of form, of relation, order, organic 
development, beneath seeming disorder and aimless 
contingency and change." 

Another objection to the philosophical interpretation 
of religion is that the truths of it are supernatuijally 
revealed to men and are above reason if not contrary 
to it. The idea of religion undoubtedly implies revela- 
tion. It is not the outcome of any process of reasoning 


of the finite mind, but arises from the self-communi- 
cation of God to man. But revelation does not exclude 
reason. The truths which are revealed to us must 
be capable of being comprehended and interpreted by 
reason. They are not so many unintelligible things 
arbitrarily forced on our minds. Moral and religious 
principles must be appropriated by the spirit by its 
own thinking activity, and cannot be simply communi- 
cated to it in the form of mere fact. " The true idea 
of revelation, that which is most honouring to God, is 
at the same time that which is most ennobling to man 
the idea, that is, of a revelation which addresses 
itself, not to the ear or the logical understanding 
only, but to the whole spiritual nature, which does 
not constrain us mechanically to receive the truth, but 
enables us to know it, which does not tell us merely 
what God would have us believe, but raises us into 
conscious intelligent sympathy with His mind and 
will " (Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion, 
new edition, p. 61). 

The very nature of man as a finite but self-conscious 
being is such that he is bound to transcend his finitude 
and to enter into that conscious relationship with God 
on which religion depends. He not only may but must 
rise to the knowledge of God. By this is not meant 
that every human being must necessarily be religious, 
but that in self -consciousness there is implied a prin- 
ciple which, when made explicit, means communion 
with the eternal and unseen. Only on the basis of 
his union with the infinite is it possible for man to 
be conscious of himself and of all other things and 

But a direct challenge to the attempt to prove 
the rationality and necessity of religion is made by 


materialism. If everything has evolved out of matter, 
if the whole universe, mind included, can be explained 
by means of purely mechanical principles, if the brain 
secretes thought as the liver secretes bile, then there 
is no possibility whatever of a spiritualistic explanation 
of the world. Caird thinks that those who have sought 
to controvert materialism have unnecessarily weakened 
their position by making a concession to the materialist 
to which he is not entitled. They have been too ready 
to admit the existence of matter independently of mind. 
But if there be any such thing as matter unrelated to 
mind, the attempt to explain all things by means of 
it must be held to be not the weakness but the strength 
of materialism. For by trying to reduce all that is to 
matter, the materialist succeeds in avoiding the diffi- 
culties inherent in dualism and in giving an explanation 
of the world which has the merit of simplicity. It is 
the defender of religion who handicaps himself by 
undertaking to prove the existence of an external 
creator of the universe. Between the world and an 
extra-mundane deity no bond of union can be shown 
to exist. The God who is conceived as other than 
the world stands limited by it and cannot, therefore, 
be an infinite being, and the world separated from God 
loses that which, makes it a world, namely, its principle 
of unity. 

The whole fabric of materialism is based on an 
illusory foundation, the outcome of false abstraction. 
So far from mind being the product of matter, no 
conception of matter is possible unless we make use 
of the categories of thought. As soon as we proceed 
to think of matter, we are forced to employ such 
notions as unity, plurality, totality, substance, cause, 
effect, reciprocal determination, etc., and these are all 


forms of thought. They, as it were, are the framework 
in which the picture of sense-perception is set. Abstract 
from what is called matter its relation to thought and 
nothing is left. The power which holds together the 
objects of experience and brings them into connection 
with each other is the power of thought. The con- 
stitutive principle of the objective world, that without 
which it would not be anything real, is the unity of 
self -consciousness. The unthinking man supposes that 
the external objects he knows are simply reflected in 
the mirror of his mind, but philosophical reflection 
brings to light the truth that in all that is known 
the synthetic and organising activity of the mind is 
presupposed. Matter apart from mind is as much a 
chimera as one side of a thing without the other side. 
To the objection that things as known only and not 
things as such are related to the mind, Caird's answer 
is that relation to thought is an essential ingredient in 
the make-up of things, and that the very distinction 
between things and things as known is the work of 
thought. The materialists' attempt, therefore, to prove 
that mind is evolved from matter is foredoomed to 
failure. " Before you could reach thought or mind as 
a last result, you must needs eliminate it from the data 
of the problem with which you start; and that you 
can never do, any more than you can stand on your 
own shoulders or outstrip your own shadow." 

Another grave defect of materialism is its attempt 
to make mechanical causation the supreme principle 
of explanation of all things. The distinction between 
objects of different grades is obliterated and the higher 
is brought down to the level of the lower. But the 
application of mechanical causation cannot be universal. 
When we pass from the inorganic to the organic and 


from what is not conscious to what has life and con- 
sciousness, new and higher categories are needed for 
their interpretation. As Kant puts it, no Newton will 
ever arise who will be able to explain a single blade of 
grass by purely mechanical principles. A living thing 
is not a mere sum of its parts which externally 
determine each other; it is a whole on which the 
parts depend for their existence and meaning. In it 
the parts presuppose the whole quite as much as the 
whole presupposes the parts. The members of an 
organised being are what they are in virtue of the 
special functions discharged by them in furthering the 
end of the whole. If we examine life closely we find 
that it involves the following characteristic : it is a 
systematic unity of inter-related elements, each of 
which has meaning in virtue of its place and function 
in the total system. The totality here is something 
more than the aggregate of its parts, the differences 
of the parts being reduced to order and brought into 
relationship with each other according to a general plan 
and purpose. In a mechanical whole, a stone, for 
example, the parts are absolutely indifferent to each 
other; you can remove some of them without in the 
least producing a change in the others. But in an 
organic whole the parts are as meaningless apart from 
their relation to the whole as are the scenes in a drama 
separated from their context. Further, an organised 
being is an end in itself. It is a self -developing 
and self-sustaining unity, and as such differs from a 
mechanical contrivance or a work of art. In such 
things as a house or a clock we find the same skjjful 
arrangement of dissimilar elements for the realisation 
of a common end as in a living body, but the end 
is foreign to them and is imposed upon them from 


without; whereas in a living body the end is not 
external to the means, but is their own immanent end. 
It is a unity manifested in its members, and hence 
the members are not merely dependent on each other 
but produce each other. It is a self -differentiating 
and self- integrating whole. 

It has been held by scientific specialists that there 
is nothing in organised objects which cannot be resolved 
into inorganic substances, that there is no such thing 
as a vital force irreducible to physical and chemical 
elements, and that at some stage of the world's evolu- 
tion life must have grown out of what is not life. It 
is not necessary to contest such theories in order to 
see that when we pass from the inorganic to the 
organic world we require a new and a higher con- 
ception in order to understand the nature of the latter. 
In matter there may be the promise and potency of 
all forms of terrestrial life, vital phenomena may 
contain nothing beyond physical and chemical forces, 
but, all the same, it cannot be denied that when we 
reach life, whatever the determining conditions of its 
evolution may be, the fact before us requires a higher 
category for its interpretation. There is no new force 
in life, but all the old forces acquire a new meaning 
and significance. We no longer have, as in the 
inorganic world, a unity external to another unity, 
but a higher unity which goes out of itself to differ- 
ences and returns into itself. The phenomena of 
organisation may arise out of inorganic phenomena, 
but it is impossible to understand them without the 
idea t of self -causation. 

Although an organism is a unity which is prior to 
and reveals itself in its parts, we nevertheless perceive 
it to be a mere aggregate of parts determining each 

H.N.-H, K 


other externally. The idea of it is not in harmony 
with its reality as an object of nature. Hence it is 
that in the attempt to explain it we cannot help 
employing mechanical principles, even when we per- 
ceive that such principles cannot make its essential 
nature intelligible to us. This, however, only shows 
that we cannot rest finally in the category of life, 
but must go beyond it to the ultimate category of 
self-consciousness, which alone is a unity for itself 
expressed in its own differences, namely, the objects 
which co-exist in space and reciprocally determine 
each other. In self -consciousness " we have the 
absolutely new and higher result of a multiplicity of 
differences which are wholly retracted out of a spatial 

The disproof of materialism, however, is not enough 
to justify the religious attitude of mind. For this 
purpose it is necessary to show that in the very nature 
of the finite spirit there is something which elevates 
it into union with God. The finitude of material 
objects consists in their exclusion from each other. 
But a finite self-conscious being is aware of its finitude 
and therefore transcends the distinction between itself 
and that by which it is limited. It makes what lies 
beyond it the means of its own development. " It is 
the characteristic of a spiritual, intelligent being that 
it is not and cannot be shut up in its own individuality, 
that it shares in the life of the world without, in the 
life of Nature and of all other spiritual beings, so that 
it is its growing participation in their life that con- 
stitutes the measure and value of its own." This 
means that self -consciousness involves a potential 
infinitude. It is possiBleTor a finite being to include 
in its consciousness the surrounding world by which 


it is limited, because It is lifted above its finitude 
through its oneness with the infinite spiritual principle 
of which the total system of things is the expression. 
To actually be the infinite which he potentially is 
becomes therefore man's ideal. Growth of know- 
ledge means " a discovery to mind of its own latent 
wealth," and moral progress means " an escape from 
the narrowness and poverty of the individual life and 
the possibility of a life which is other and larger than 
our own, and yet which is most truly our own," a 
life, that is, of oneness with the family, society, the 
nation and, ultimately, Humanity. It is because we 
share in a universal reason that it is possible for us 
to be conscious of ourselves as finite beings and of 
the relations in which we stand to other things and 
beings. In short, " when we examine into the real 
significance of the rational and spiritual nature and 
life of man, we find that it involves what is virtually 
the consciousness of God and of our essential relation 
to Him." 

The significance of the so-called proofs of the exist- 
ence of God is to show that it is impossible for the 
human mind to rest in the finite and that by its own 
necessary movement it is led to rise to the knowledge 
of God. Viewed as formal proofs of the existence 
of God, the cosmological, the teleological and the onto- 
logical arguments are open to all the objections which 
Kant and others have urged against them. But the 
right way of conceiving them is to regard them as 
expressions of the successive stages through which the 
mind rises from the secular consciousness of the world 
to the religious and philosophical view of it. It is 
impossible for the human mind to rest satisfied with 
the finite and transient world. The least reflecting 


man cannot fail to discern more or less clearly that 
the sensible world is so unstable and changeful that 
it can have no existence except in relation to a necessary 
being. The sense of the unreality and vanity of the 
world is the characteristic of every religion, and it is 
more because of what it is not than of what it is that 
we are forced to seek for a higher principle explanatory 
of it. The cosmological argument represents the 
transition of the mind from the finite world to its 
infinite background. It is impossible to defend it if 
we take it to mean that the necessary being is because 
the contingent is. The hypothesis of an infinite and 
necessary being is not justified in order to account for 
a finite world, and a being beyond and therefore limited 
by the finite world cannot be infinite. The real signi- 
ficance of the argument is that it sets forth the 
movement of the mind whereby it rises above the 
transitoriness of the mundane world. 

But if we merely negate the finite world and refer 
it to an infinite beyond, we make no progress. An 
infinite which merely annuls the finite and does not 
explain it is an empty abstraction. We can no more 
rest in it than we can breathe in a perfect vacuum. 
The only effect of referring finite things to it as their 
background is -that its impotence to explain and give 
a new meaning to them is demonstrated and we are 
compelled to retrace our steps back to them. It is for 
this reason that in the history of human thought there 
is found a pantheism that swallows up everything finite 
alternating or even co-existing with polytheism. The 
true infinite must not merely negate the finite,, but 
vitalise and impart a new meaning to it. 

Now, the teleological argument makes good the 
defect of the cosmological argument indicated above. 


It seeks to prove the existence of a God who is the 
positive determining principle of it. God, according 
to it, is the creator of the world and the cause of 
the order and harmony of which it is full. In so far 
as this argument transcends and supplements the 
cosmological argument it is valid, but its weak point 
is that it does not overcome the dualism of form, 
and matter with which its inner spirit is incompatible. 
The cogency of the argument rests upon the transfer- 
ence to the relation between God and the world of 
ideas derived from human skill and workmanship. 
Just as the artist imposes his own end on materials 
more or less refractory and combines them into an 
ingeniously contrived thing, so we conceive of God 
as transforming a vast mass of chaotic material into 
the orderly cosmos we see. But in this way we reach 
only the idea of a world-architect who is necessarily 
limited by the existence and nature of the materials 
at his disposal. A world-architect, however, is not 
God, who is the life and soul of the world, and not 
merely its cunning contriver. If, in order to avoid 
this difficulty, we say that God is the creator of matter, 
we only fall into new difficulties. How can a perfect 
being first create matter and then, as an after-thought, 
introduce order into it? Further, it is not possible 
by means of inductive reasoning to prove the existence 
of a being perfectly good and wise from such adapta- 
tions of means to ends as we find in nature. Nothing 
is more easy than to draw up a formidable catalogue 
of the evils of life. If on speculative grounds we are 
satisfied that the universe is rational through and 
through, we may argue that its apparent irrationality 
is due to our incomplete knowledge of it, and must 
be capable of being reconciled with the rationality of 


it as a whole. But if we start from the particular 
facts of experience, we find that they are exceedingly 
ambiguous and that it is not possible to base a definite 
conclusion about the existence and attributes of God 
on them. 

The weak points of the teleological argument are 
all removed if we conceive of the order of the universe 
as not imposed upon it by an extra-mundane deity, 
but as the self-revelation of God immanent in it. 
God is not a mere Demiurgus, but the infinite spirit 
manifested in the world. This is the idea that the 
ontological argument expresses, and hence this argu- 
ment transcends and incorporates into itself the truth 
of the teleological argument exactly as the latter does 
that of the cosmological argument. In other words, 
the ontological argument adequately expresses the 
truth, the different stages of the mind's progress 
towards which are represented by the other two argu- 
ments. The ontological argument, as it is stated by 
Anselm and Descartes, is, as Kant has shown, utterly 
indefensible. To begin with the idea of God and 
then to prove His existence by merely analysing that 
idea is certainly absurd. But there is more in the 
argument than its usual form suggests. The real 
significance of jt is its insistence upon the ultimate 
identity of thought and being in spite of their relative 
opposition. All existence is for thought, and thought 
is a nonentity, a meaningless abstraction, unless it is 
manifested in being. All particular objects have exist- 
ence only as elements of the one all-inclusive system 
of things in which an ultimate spiritual principle is 
revealed. The unity of all things with each other and 
with the mind that knows them is the precondition 
of the existence of every finite object. Just as a 


member of the body has reality only as a component 
factor of the organism in which a single vital principle 
is expressed, so each sensible object has being only as 
an organic element of the whole universe in which 
the Absolute mind is revealed. The idea of God is 
not an empty notion in our head, but is the presuppo- 
sition of the existence of the world. It is the centre 
without which the circle of being would not be possible. 
The unity of the divine mind finds expression in the 
multiplicity of the world in time and space, and the 
multiplicity of the world in time and space has its 
centre in the unity of the divine mind. God and the 
world can no more be separated from each other than 
can the centre be separated from the circumference. 
The opposition of the thought of God and the being 
of the world presupposes the ultimate identity of the 
Absolute in which that opposition is reconciled. The 
ontological argument, properly understood, simply 
means that all objective existence presupposes a 
universal mind for which and in which it is. Being 
is for thought, and thought has its content in being. 
The basis of religion lies in the power of thought 
to rise above the limitations of finitude and to enter 
into communion with the Absolute. The self can 
distinguish itself from the objective world because it 
is able to transcend the distinction and to relate itself 
to the universal mind of which subject and object are 
opposed expressions. But although the rational nature 
of man is the foundation of religion, it does not follow 
that it is a purely intellectual thing and has no concern 
with feeling and will. The self is an unbroken unity 
of which thought, feeling and will are organic elements. 
" "rfr^ijg n fcd* n g r>r volition which does Jiot jcoatain 
in it implicitly an elementj)fJbaQ noj: jmyjcind 


of^ knowledge which does not presuppose 
in which the mind is in an attitude simply passive 
ajid receptive, without any element of activity. A 
spiritual unity cannot be conceived of as a repository, 
like a case of instruments or a box of tools, in which 
so many things are placed side by side, but rather 
as a unity of which the various elements necessarily 
involve. each other or are the correlative expressions 
of a common principle" (Introduction to the Philo- 
sophy of Religion^ new edition, p. 153). Thought, 
however, has primacy over feeling and wijl, because 
it is the central principle " which runs through, 
characterises, gives organic relation to all our 
spiritual activities." It is on this central principle, 
this self-conscious nature of man, that religion is 

It has been held that religion is altogether a matter 
of feeling. We are religious not because of the 
acuteness of our intellectual powers, but in virtue of 
our love of God. A man may be a great scholar, 
a penetrating critic, a keen controversialist, and yet 
altogether lacking in that simple faith without which 
religion is an impossibility. On the other hand, one 
whose intellectual development is at a low point may 
have true piety and real spiritual insight. Knowledge 
divides rather than unites. It separates the knower 
from the object of knowledge to which he opposes 
himself. But in love the opposition disappears. He 
who loves God becomes one with Him. Caird admits 
that there is an element of truth in this view. Know- 
ledge without feeling cannot be the root from which 
religion grows. The error lies not in perceiving the 
importance of feeling for religion, but in excluding 
from it the elements of knowledge and will. The 


value of a feeling depends upon the worth of the 
thing which evokes it. Apart from their objects all 
feelings, no matter how intense they may be, are on 
the same level. " Within the sphere of feeling, the 
raptures of the sensualist and the devout devotion of 
the saint are precisely on a level; the one has as much 
justification as the other." It is impossible to say that 
the stronger an emotion is, the greater is the value 
of the object which calls it forth. The keenest feelings 
are those which are connected with our animal nature, 
and the more subdued ones are those that arise from 
intelligence. Further, it must be remembered that 
intensity of feelings also depends upon individual 
character and temperament. " Natures of a soft, pliant, 
susceptible texture are ready to respond to every breath 
that sweeps the chords of feelings; they are elated or 
depressed, attracted or repelled, roused into super- 
stitious raptures or plunged into despondency and 
despair, on occasions when colder and deeper natures 
remain unmoved." So variable and accidental a thing 
cannot by itself correspond, on the human side, to the 
infinite object of religion. 

Religion must indeed be closely connected with 
feeling, but its most essential element is knowledge, 
It must be grounded on objective truth. This does 
not mean that the form of knowledge which religion 
implies is " scientific or speculative knowledge, truth 
grasped in its absolute necessity and coherence as an 
organic system or process." There is a less elaborate 
kind of knowledge possible for all men. JTruth may 
be apprehended in a representative form, in the form 
oFfacts~ancT images symbolical of^ spiritual ideas. The 
figurate conceptions in which popular thought finds 
expression are sufficient for the practical purposes of 


life. The mind uses them as its instrument but is 
seldom under their bondage. The ordinary dogmas 
of religion express the truths of it in a sensuous- 
form, and cannot therefore be literally interpreted. 
Nevertheless they convey real knowledge. 

JBut pjctprial thought has serious defects, It fails 
to adequately comprehend spiritual realities. The 
sensuous forms and imageries which it employs hamper 
it and betray it into error. The idea is apt to be 
subordinated to its material form, and we are in danger 
of introducing into the world of mind conceptions 
which have meaning only as applied to the things of 
time and space. Metaphors may, in short, be substi- 
tuted for thoughts. Working with ideas derived from 
the external world, ordinary unphilosophical thought 
fails altogether to understand the nature of the unity 
which belongs to spiritual things. The parts of a 
material object are simply juxtaposed and bear no 
essential relationship with each other, but spiritual 
objects are unities of elements, each of which has 
reality and significance only in and through the rest. 
Of such unities popular thought can make nothing. 
It succeeds neither in solving the apparent contradic- 
tion of the differences in which an organic unity finds 
expression nor in grasping the nature of that unity. 
A particular element of the whole is arbitrarily taken 
to be fundamental and all other elements are either 
sought to be reduced to it or are explained away. The 
spiritual unity, for example, which finds expression in 
and transcends the duality of subject and object, matter 
and mind, is missed, and the idle question asljed 
whether mind is reducible to matter or matter to mind. 
Similarly, the finite and the infinite are set in un- 
mediated opposition to each other and the problem is 


raised how is it possible for the finite to know the 
infinite and for the infinite to communicate itself to 
the finite. How can the finite avoid being engulfed 
in the infinite and the infinite being limited by the 
finite which is other than it? The logic of the under- 
standing whose main weapons are the principles of 
identity and contradiction is powerless to solve such 
problems. Its merely analytical procedure only serves 
to heighten the contradiction. " Instead of giving any 
real unity to the differences of the spiritual world, 
logical ratiocination only serves to exaggerate them. 
It may dissect and exhibit in isolated detail the various 
members of the organic whole of truth, but it can no 
more reproduce the living' unity than the anatomist 
can reunite in harmonious vital action and reaction the 
disjecta membra of the organism he has dissected. " 

Understanding by its analytical work no doubt helps 
to make our conceptions clear, but if the movement 
of thought did not advance further, " it would only 
have deprived us of the satisfaction of uncritical and 
unquestioning faith without enabling us to reach that 
deeper satisfaction after which reason aspires.' 5 The 
highest kind of knowledge is not reached until the 
elements of it " are apprehended, not as isolated and 
independent terms or notions, accepted each on its own 
evidence, but as related to or flowing out of each 
other, so that one being given the others follow and 
the whole body of knowledge constitutes one organic 
system." Guided by the formal principles of identity 
and contradiction and unable to apprehend the nature 
of g. unity which realises itself in its own differences, 
understanding sharply opposes God, nature and man 
to each other and fails to perceive that they are not 
separate entities but moments, distinguishable phases, 


of a single organic whole. Conceiving of God, the 
world and the finite self as three distinct self -identical 
realities, it is unable to bring them into harmonious 
relationship with each other. Either the infinite is 
regarded as all in all and the finite merged in it, or 
the latter is so opposed to the former that it becomes 
reduced to a mere supreme being. The former alter- 
native is adopted by pantheism. It so emphasises the 
unity and infinitude of God as to reduce the world 
to a nullity and to abrogate the freedom and moral 
life of man. " It gives us an infinite which obliterates 
instead of comprehending and accounting for the 
finite." In so far as pantheism proclaims the unity 
and spirituality of the world, it is true, but its error 
lies in its inability to perceive that unity has no 
meaning apart from difference. It is impossible to do 
away with the finite, the many and the changeable. 
To call the differences of the phenomenal world an 
illusion is only to give them a new name and not to 
explain them. Even an illusion is a fact of experience 
and has got to be seriously treated. The infinite of 
pantheism is an abyss into which all things disappear 
and from which nothing returns. It is barren and 
lifeless and incapable of accounting for the wealth of 
the concrete world. It is not " an infinite of larger 
and fuller life but an infinite in which all thought and 
life are lost." In its ethical aspect, pantheism makes 
personality, freedom and responsibility meaningless and 
abolishes the distinction between moral good and evil. 
The opposite error is that of deism. It results from 
a natural reaction against the exaggerated monism of 
pantheism. Deism conceives of God as external to the 
world and as related to it as its creator and preserver. 
It is essentially dualistic, and its idea of God is based 


on analogies derived from the relation of a human 
artist to his work. But it is impossible to think 
of God as lying somewhere beyond the world and 
operating upon it from outside. A God who is other 
than the universe can in no sense be infinite, for He 
necessarily stands limited by it. Nor is it possible 
to regard the various kinds of things and beings in 
the world as created out of nothing. Why should 
God, who at one time was without the world, think 
of creating it at all, and how could something be 
brought out of nothing? An external creator is not 
God but only a super-man. And neither material 
things nor living beings can be conceived as manu- 
factured from without. "Even a stone has a distinctive 
character, is a centre of relations, a unity of manifold 
differences, the existence of which cannot be embraced 
under the notion of almighty power, or conceived as 
imparted to it by an external agent. The relations that 
constitute the existence and nature of a stone imply, 
with reverence be it said, a God who from the first 
moment of its existence is in the stone and constitutes 
the inner essence of its being" (Fundamental Ideas of 
Christianity, Vol. I., pp. 120-21). Far more absurd is 
the notion of a made mind, a spiritual, self-conscious 
being created by an outside power. " In thought, 
intelligence, self -consciousness, in moral activity and 
attainment, you come upon an order of things in which 
the very notion of an external relation vanishes, and 
the hard and fast division between the creator and the 
created ceases to be any longer tenable. It is of the 
very essence of a spiritual nature that it cannot be 
originated or determined from without. Knowledge, 
morality, goodness are not manufactured articles. 
Spiritual qualities are not things that can be rained 


into the soul or deposited in it ready made" (Funda- 
mental Ideas of Christianity, Vol. I., pp. 122-23). 

Having shown the inadequacy of religious know- 
ledge in the ordinary unscientific form and exposed 
the fallacies of pantheism and deism arising from the 
devices of the understanding to systematise knowledge, 
Caird proceeds to show that the only idea of God 
which satisfies reason is the speculative idea of Him 
as the Absolute Mind self-revealed in nature. God 
is not the external creator of the world. He is the 
inmost essence of it, its constitutive and sustaining 
principle. He can no more exist apart from it than 
it independently of Him. The very nature of the 
infinite mind is to manifest itself in a world of finite 
things and beings without which it has no reality. 
This does not in any way detract from the individuality 
and independence of nature and man. On the con- 
trary, such independence as they have is due to their 
being the manifestation of God. Things are real not 
because they are isolated from but because they are 
implicated with each other. As essentially related to 
each other, they form organic elements of one world. 
They are at once differentiated from and integrated with 
each other, are a many-in-one and one-in-many. This 
means that their ultimate basic principle is mind, which 
alone can reduce them to unity without obliterating 
their difference. The existence of nature, therefore, 
presupposes its necessary reference to the universal 
mind. The universal mind, similarly, has its content 
in the manifold differences of the objective world. 
Abstracted from that world it is nothing. Mind wj^ich 
is not revealed in things and things which are not 
rooted in mind are both meaningless abstractions. God 
and the world are not two independent entities, each 


complete by itself; they are the opposite counterparts 
of a single spiritual whole. " If it be true, on the 
one hand, that, without the idea of God, nature and 
man would be unintelligible, there is a sense in which 
it is also true, on the other hand, that without nature 
and man God would be unintelligible" (Fundamental 
Ideas of Christianity^ Vol. I., p. 154). If nature exists, 
then, as its presupposition and ground, God exists, and 
if God exists, then, as the content of His mind, nature 
exists. Reality, in its last interpretation, is the Absolute 
spirit manifested in nature and in the society of rational 

Made in the image of God, man is not only a 
self-conscious, but also a self -determining being. 
Essentially related to the universal and the infinite on 
the one side, and to nature, of which he forms a part, 
on the other, his end is to unfold his nature, to trans- 
form himself by means of his own conscious effort 
into a fully developed spiritual being. As at once 
finite and infinite, universal and individual, it is not 
given to him to lead a life of peaceful ease and con- 
tentment. " That which makes man a spiritual being 
makes him also a restless being. Reason is the secret 
of a divine discontent." He is divided against himself 
and has got to win his perfection and ideal freedom 
as the result of a conflict between his higher and lower 
natures. Moral and spiritual perfection does not come 
to us as a free gift; it has to be acquired through 
struggle and self-mastery. The elements between 
which the conflict takes place are both comprised within 
the unity of our self-conscious nature. If reason and 
passion were merely opposed to each other, if there 
were no unity transcending that opposition, no conflict 
between them would ever be possible. Sensuous desires 


and impulses are mine quite as much as the reason 
which seeks to control them, and it is because the 
former are armed with a power derived from the latter 
that a strife between them becomes possible. In man 
the natural impulses are no longer what they are in 
the animal. They are rationalised, and in this way 
acquire a spurious universality. Moral evil is not due 
simply to the presence of the animal nature in us. It 
arises when the lower tendencies absorb our whole 
being and when through the satisfaction of them we 
seek to attain that contentment which the realisation 
of the universal ends of reason alone can give us. To 
turn away from the ideal of perfection of which the 
universality of our nature is the source and to allow 
ourselves to be imprisoned in our animal nature is the 
essence of moral evil. " A life lived only for the finite, 
for the attainment of finite ends and the satisfaction 
of finite desires, would be innocent and harmless if 
man's nature were wholly finite. What makes such 
a life evil is to be seen only when we consider it in 
the light of its inherent capabilities, and of the self- 
contradiction it involves; or, in simpler language, when 
we think of the wasted powers and misdirected aims, 
the ruin and wretchedness of a nature made for God, 
when it squanders itself on shallow and finite satis- 
factions " (Fundamental Ideas of Christianity, Vol. II., 
p. 2i). 

In the moral life is found the solution of the 
contradiction between the universality of man and 
his particular animal nature. Morality does not mean 
an ascetic extinction of desires. The rooting oiy: of 
our impulses and desires is not possible, and if it were 
possible it would not be desirable. A passionless life 
of pure reason is only a mystic dream incapable of 


being actually lived. In the concrete unity of human 
nature, reason and passion are in close organic relation- 
ship with each other. Any attempt to effect a forced 
separation between inseparable elements of life would 
mean not the fulfilment but the extinction of the moral 
life. " To seek perfection in a life without desire and 
passion is to seek the ideal moral life by the destruction 
or elimination of that which makes any moral life 
possible." Upon the foundation of animal impulses 
and desires the moral life is built. It means not 
the annihilation but the organisation of the natural 
tendencies, the transformation of them into the means 
of its own realisation. The lower elements of our 
nature may be said to constitute the raw material of 
morality. They are not to be left as they are, but 
to be reduced to elements of a system in which reason 
is embodied. A harmonious life of co-ordinated 
activities determined by ends into which feelings and 
impulses enter as necessary elements and of which 
reason is the guiding principle is of the very essence 
of morality. 

Such organisation of the individual life, however, 
is not possible without a wider organisation into which 
individuals enter as elements. Only in so far as I 
renounce my private atomistic self and identify myself 
with a fuller and more comprehensive life beyond me 
.do the various propensities of my nature cease to be 
lawless and chaotic and become reduced to an orderly 
system. Co-ordination and harmonisation of the feel- 
ings, desires and activities of an individual is the 
outcome of his being controlled and inspired by the 
social whole to which he belongs and subordinates 
himself. The individual is a moral being because he 
is really more than at first sight he seems to be. As 


a member of the body is nothing apart from the 
position it has in and the function it discharges as an 
essential part of the organism, so an individual who 
has not a station and its duties in society, who does 
not realise himself by doing some work necessary for 
the community within which he is included, is an 
unreal abstraction. " In one sense the members of the 
social organism in which I live, the institutions, the 
civil and political organisation of the community to 
which I belong, are outside and independent of me, 
and there are certain duties and obligations which they 
authoritatively impose on me. They constitute a moral 
order, an external or objective morality, to which I 
must submit. But in another sense they are not 
foreign to me, they are more truly me than my private 
self. Apart from them I have no real self, or only 
the false self of a fragment taking itself for a whole. 
It is when the moral life of society flows into me that 
my nature reaches a fuller development; and then only 
are my social duties adequately fulfilled when they cease 
to have the aspect of an outward law and pass, in love 
and self-devotion, into the spontaneity of a second 
nature" (Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion, 
new edition, pp. 264-65). The highest development 
of social morality is attained when an individual rises 
above his particular community and identifies himself 
with the whole human race. 

In morality we get but an incomplete solution of 
the contradiction between the ideal and the actual, 
between man's potential infinitude and his finite nature. 
The moral life is a life of never-ending progress. ( The 
goal at which we aim is never actually attained. The 
more we advance towards it, the further it recedes from 
us. The highest result of morality is only an approxi- 


mation to its infinite ideal. No society, no state, with 
which an individual can identify himself is ever perfect 
or inclusive of all men. It is not an infinite whole, 
but only " a definite form of its objective realisation." 
Of the total system of things it is nothing more than 
an insignificant fragment. " Beyond the corporate life 
of mankind there is a wider life of which all nature 
and history, all finite existences present and future are 
the manifestations." It is when we are carried beyond 
the region of temporal things and brought into union 
with the eternal and unseen, when, in short, we pass 
from the sphere of morality to that of religion, that 
the final solution of the contradiction between the ideal 
and the real is found. Religion " changes aspiration 
into fruition, anticipation into realisation. Instead of 
leaving man in the interminable pursuit of a vanishing 
ideal, it makes him the actual partaker of a divine 
or infinite life." On the human side it is the eleva- 
tion of the soul into union with God; on the divine 
side it is God's self- communication to man. Man 
surrendering himself to the infinite being, and the 
infinite being revealing himself in and to man, are 
the same thing looked at from opposite sides. It is 
true that the religious life is progressive quite as much 
as the moral life, but, in the former, the progress is 
within, while, in the latter, it is towards the sphere 
of the infinite. The progress of the religious life 
consists in the fuller appropriation of the rich inherit- 
ance of which we are in possession from the very 
beginning. That which we, from one point of view, 
seek, to attain, we have, from another point of view, 
already attained. " In religion," concludes Caird, in 
words reminiscent of HegePs well-known passage in 
the Philosophy of Religion, " the spirit passes out of 


the realm of time, rises above the passing shows of 
things, the vain fears and the vainer hopes that pertain 
to the things seen and temporal. The outer life may 
be still in some measure a life of effort, struggle and 
conflict; but in that inner sphere in which the true life 
lies, the strife is over, the victory already achieved; 
hope has passed into fruition, struggle into conquest, 
restless effort and endeavour into perfect peace 
the peace of God which passeth all understand- 
ing >J (Fundamental Ideas of Christianity, Vol. I., 
pp. 194-95). 

In his Gifford lectures entitled the Fundamental Ideas 
of Christianity, posthumously published, Caird gives 
a philosophical explanation of the main dogmas of 
Christianity. The standpoint is much the same as that 
of his brother in the Evolution of Religion, except 
that, as the latter puts it, he committed the error of 
supposing that the whole Christian doctrine " could 
be reinterpreted by philosophical reflection without any 
essential change." He also, perhaps, differs from most 
of the British Neo-Hegelians in regarding the founder 
of Christianity as a " perfect human personality." The 
central idea of the lectures is that through the medium 
of the life of Jesus the fundamental truth of the 
oneness of God -and man was for the first time definitely 
revealed to mankind. It was long before the Christian 
world fully and properly apprehended this truth. The 
various heresies of the Church were due to attempts 
to exclude or modify the human or the divine element 
in the nature of Christ. Starting from the presupposi- 
tion that divinity and humanity are mutually exclusive, 
theological writers either sought to prove that Christ 
was a mere man differing from other men only in 
respect of the special kind of divine influence he 


received or to show that only his body was human 
but the spirit that animated it was divine. It was not 
understood that " there is a sense in which it may be 
said that God would not be God without union with 
man and man would not be truly man without union 
with God," and that the personality of Christ was a 
unique exemplification of this truth. In the life of 
Jesus, the essential nature of God was manifested 
under the form of time. Christ is not to be regarded 
as merely a great historical person that lived on earth 
two thousand years ago. " He is an indwelling ever- 
present spirit, co-operating with us, animating and 
inspiring us, reinforcing our better nature, blending 
His thought with our thought, His will with our will, 
His life with our life." The essence of Christ's life 
is that " it was the self -revelation of the Divine in 
the human, the Infinite in the finite the absolute 
identification of the mind and will of God with the 
mind and will of man." It was for this reason that 
the real import of Christ's personality could not be 
properly appreciated until he was withdrawn from the 
presence of his immediate disciples as a particular 
individual. After his death only he could exist in the 
midst of his believing followers, not as an individual 
person in outward contact with them, but as the uni- 
versal indwelling principle of their corporate life. The 
salvation of man, his redemption from sin, lies in his 
imbibing the spirit of Christ, in the absolute surrender 
of his soul to God. He must give up his isolated 
particular life, cease to assail the very principle of his 
being by asserting a false independence, and, by wholly 
blending his mind and will with the mind and will of 
Christ, become a member of the kingdom of the spirit 
in which he lives for ever. 



THE expositor of Hegel who contributed towards the 
comprehension of his meaning more than any other 
British writer, more perhaps than even Stirling and 
Caird, is William Wallace. The main work of Wallace 
was the interpretation of Hegel and the translation 
of his lesser Logic and the Philosophy of Mind into 
English. If his career had not been cut short in the 
prime of life by an unfortunate accident, he would 
doubtless have made further substantial contributions 
to philosophy. His initiation in the study of philo- 
sophy was due to Ferrier, whose lectures he attended 
in the University of St. Andrews, and when he went 
to Oxford he came under the influence of Green, of 
whom he speaks as " that example of high-souled 
devotion to truth, and of earnest and intrepid thinking 
on the deep things of eternity." He succeeded Green 
as Whyte's Professor of Moral Philosophy in 1882, 
and exercised profound influence on several generations 
of students. In his philosophical tendencies he was 
essentially a Hegelian. " No one who has understood 
his exposition of Hegel," says Professor Muirhead, 
" can fail to recognise the Hegelian in all that, he 
wrote." He generally eschews the technicalities of 
Hegel and gives us a free but a very faithful render- 
ing of his thought. "The Hegelian philosophy," 



Edward Caird tells us, " had its strong hold upon his 
mind mainly because he seemed to find in Hegel one 
who united idealism with a more than positive insist- 
ence upon the emptiness of abstract ideas, and whose 
thinking was a continual effort after the comprehension 
of the actual in its concreteness and complexity." 

Wallace, in many respects, presents a marked con- 
trast to his predecessor Green. Both represent the 
idealistic school of thought. But, unlike Green, he 
makes no attempt to develop a system and prefers 
to express his own ideas through the exposition and 
criticism of others. This tendency he has in common 
with many other British exponents of idealism. Green's 
style is heavy and sometimes rather involved, in spite 
of occasional passages of great perspicacity and power. 
Wallace, on the contrary, is a singularly attractive 
writer. His work may indeed be regarded as literature 
quite as much as philosophy. Green was a great 
controversialist and a remorseless critic of systems of 
thought to which he was opposed, although, at the 
same time, he was one of the most broadminded and 
tolerant of men. Wallace, on the other hand, rather 
disliked controversy and preferred to discover points 
of agreement with thinkers of other schools. His 
criticism, in the words of Caird, " is always apprecia- 
tive, and, we might say, at times appreciative to a 
fault." Into the point of view of another "he took 
infinite pains to enter and even to suggest reasons to 
justify what seemed paradoxical and extravagant." 

Wallace's interest is not so predominantly theological 
as jhat of the Cairds. His sole aim is to comprehend 
the ultimate meaning of the system of things to which 
we belong. " The reality on which his gaze was 
anxiously bent," says Professor Muirhead, "was the 


reality that is in life and things and not any reality 
beyond them. Philosophy was not so much a special 
kind of occupation different from those of ordinary 
life, but just those ordinary occupations thoroughly 
understood " (Fortnightly Review, Vol. LXL, p. 689). 

It is not an easy task to interpret Wallace. The 
difficulty of the expositor arises from the fact that, 
as a rule, he is exceedingly averse to a too definite 
pronouncement on the moot points of philosophical 
controversy. Brilliant reflections and criticisms in detail 
are to be found everywhere in his writings, but there 
is very little effort to gather up into a coherent and 
consistent whole the results of piecemeal discussion. 
As one of his critics remarks, with perhaps some 
amount of exaggeration, "everywhere valuable .hints 
and suggestions, nowhere a connected argument or 
line of thought. There is a continual oscillation 
between opposite tendencies." Except in his incom- 
plete and fragmentary Gifford lectures and some essays 
on moral philosophy, the views of Wallace are nowhere 
presented in a positive form. Even the essays, as 
Caird says, " have a tentative and heuristic character, 
as of a mind testing different ways of thought and 
seeking an outlet in one direction after another." In 
this chapter an* attempt is made to give a connected 
exposition of Wallace's views on religion and morality, 
as contained in the posthumous volume entitled Lec- 
tures and Essays on Natural Theology and Ethics, at 
the risk of giving a somewhat dogmatic character to 
the teachings of one who was very reluctant to commit 
himself to any proposition without a good deaj of 
explanations and reservations. 

Of the two courses of Gifford lectures which Wallace 
delivered in the University of Glasgow, only twelve 


have been preserved. The first course is very incom- 
plete. Only three lectures of it are extant. These 
deal with the scope of natural theology, the Greek 
origins of it, and the natural theology of Christ. In 
the first lecture Wallace seeks to vindicate natural 
theology against the attacks made on it from different 
sides and to determine its exact functions. He points 
out the mistake of thinking that its aim is to construct 
religion. There is, he says, certainly justification for 
the feeling that life cannot be reduced to mere logic 
and that analysis and reflection are out of place where 
faith based on the intuitive knowledge of God is 
concerned. But natural theology makes no attempt 
to supersede faith. Its aim is not to produce the 
religious life but to understand it, to determine its 
nature and its relation to other human interests. It 
is the attempt to rationalise religion. The need for 
this is felt when in the course of the development of 
the human mind a conflict arises between the religious 
spirit and the scientific tendency. To effect a harmony 
between religion and science, between faith and wor- 
ship and the secular interests of life, is the business 
of philosophy. Its demand is " that such evaluation 
of the factors of life shall be made consciously and 
with due care and not at haphazard." When contra- 
dictions emerge between the different elements of life 
philosophy intervenes and, with a certain aloofness 
appropriate to it, seeks to estimate the exact worth of 
these elements and to give to each its proper place 
in the total scheme of life. Natural theology, so 
understood, has no quarrel with revelation. It is 
opposed only to the notion of " the communication 
of full made truths by a miraculous importation of 
them into the human faculties." 


In the second lecture Wallace shows that the origins 
of natural theology are to be found in Greece, and 
after surveying the chief systems of Greek thought 
points out that " the whole tendency of Greek philo- 
sophy was to conceive of God as the great principle 
of the natural order, as the supreme reality, as the 
object of all objects. He is the order, or He is the 
source and author of the order, of the physical uni- 
verse. He is the supreme condition, on which for the 
philosopher depends the intelligibility of nature, the 
final source of all its movement, the goal of all its 

The natural theology of Christ is the theme of the 
third lecture. Wallace maintains that the uniqueness 
of Christianity does not lie in its bringing any new 
truth into the world. It did not add anything to 
the idea of God which the world, particularly the 
Greeks, already had. Not a single article of its faith 
perhaps can be said to be peculiar to Christianity. Its 
value lies in the practical demonstration it gives of 
the truth of the philosophical idea of God. Man's 
sonship of God is made visible and tangible in Christ. 
His uniqueness consists in " his utter realisation of 
the immanence of God in this present life." He shows 
that man is a free being because he is one with God, 
but the other side of this freedom is his absolute 
allegiance to God. "The great deed that seems to 
emerge as the life of Christ is the bringing into one 
of God and man : the discovery that the supernatural 
is in the natural, the spiritual in the physical : the 
eternal life as the truth and basis of this : God manifest 
in the flesh : removal of the partition wall between 
God and man : the immanence of the divine, not as 
a new and imported element in human life, a special 


bit of man peculiarly holy, but as the truth and life 
in life" (Lectures and Essays on Natural Theology 
and Ethics, pp. 49-50). The practical consequence of 
all this finds expression in the commandments to love 
God with all strength and to love the neighbour as 
self. " If we separate them and minutely try to balance 
the several claims, it will lead to unpleasant and profit- 
less casuistry. But they are not separate, and they 
cannot be balanced against each other. God, self and 
neighbour, they form an indissoluble trinity." 

In the second course of lectures, of which nine 
have been preserved, Wallace discusses the relations of 
morality and religion. These lectures, as Caird says, 
" contain some of the most original and suggestive 
pages which Professor Wallace has produced." He 
begins by pointing out the error of what he calls " a 
departmental view of human life," which sets religion 
and science, art and morality, morality and religion 
in sharp opposition to each other. These great con- 
cerns of life are of course distinct from each other, 
but the distinction is not absolute. The unity under- 
lying them must not be overlooked. Religion is not 
one thing and morality another. They are neither to 
be identified with nor to be kept rigidly apart from 
each other, but are to be viewed as complementary 
phases of human life. <c Religion is the complement 
and the implication of the moral life." To identify 
religion with any particular aspect of life or to suppose 
that it is detached from and unconcerned with ordinary 
human interests is to misconceive its nature altogether. 
It is t the crown and summit of life, the consecration 
of all our legitimate activities and pursuits, and its 
essence is the sense of oneness with God, that living 
taith in Him which consists not in "assent to a 


proposition which is partly doubtful and where assent 
therefore is regarded as meritorious," but in the 
knowledge of Him, in the words of Schelling, as 
" the very heart of life of all thinking and all 
action, and not a mere object of devout passion or 
of belief." God, to quote Schelling again, " is either 
not known at all, or He is at once subject and object 
of knowledge. He must be at once our very self, 
our heart of hearts, and yet comprehending all hearts 
far beyond us." 

To religion, so conceived, science, if it understands 
its business, is not opposed. Its proper task is not 
to offer a theory of the universe. The humbler role 
which belongs to it is to study particular groups of 
phenomena with a view to discover coherent relations 
between them. The laws of nature which science 
brings to light are not rigid uniformities imposing 
limits both upon God and man. They are not inflex- 
ible rules to which God Himself must bow. From 
the idealistic point of view nature is " at once natura 
naturans and natura naturata^ as an organic community, 
an ideal, or as St. Paul might call it, a spiritual body, 
working by myriad ways to an end which only gradu- 
ally reveals itself, and using methods or modes of 
operation, which in parts we can discern, and when 
discerned we call laws. The reign of law has here 
become, if not the reign of grace, at least the kingdom 
of the spirit " (Lectures and Essays on Natural Theo- 
logy and Ethics , pp. 98-99). For science, properly so 
called, there is no systematic whole, no nature. It is 
the business of reason to be comprehensive, tQ seek 
totality, to show that the special laws of nature are 
but elements which enter into the one organised whole 
of the universe of which the kingdom of the spirit is 
the inner side. 


Reason, no doubt, is in the individual, but, at the 
same time, it lords it over the individual and is there- 
fore universal. As conscience is at once our act of 
judgment and the voice of God, so is reason a universal 
principle, although it works in and through the mind 
of the individual. It is not a disintegrating principle, 
as some writers imagine, but the principle of unity. 
As Wallace puts it, when we say c come, let us reason 
together, 5 we mean c let us try to agree and remove 
the cause of misunderstanding between us, 5 and not 
4 let us dispute and divide. 5 Even disunion presupposes 
union. " A quarrel unites as surely, and the cynic 
may say more closely and permanently, than a friend- 
ship. 35 Reason grows on the soil of society, it is 
essentially a social product. To be rational is to be 
social. " The specific law of human existence is 
sociality. It is that which makes us human beings. 55 
The absolutely solitary, said Aristotle, is either a brute 
beast or a god. Authority, which Mr. (now Lord) 
Balfour extols at the expense of reason, is not anti- 
thetical to reason : it is collective reason embodied in 

In order to understand the social nature of man 
as a rational being, it is necessary to begin with the 
consideration of his relation to nature. That relation 
is twofold. While he is in every way dependent on 
nature, he is also antithetical to it. So entirely is his 
existence conditioned by nature that, to the superficial 
observer, he seems to be altogether an accidental 
product of its forces. In the eyes of materialism man 
is a ,mere excrescence upon nature, only a temporary 
disturber of the mechanically ordered physical system. 
The Platonist idealist, on the other hand, mindful 
exclusively of his relation of opposition to nature, 


conceives of the rational principle in him as having 
descended upon it from another world. "The soul 
has come from heaven, i.e. from the supernal abodes 
of" the highest mind, to enter into and dwell with 
man. 55 Both these views are one-sided. Platonic 
idealism completely separates the natural and the 
spiritual and thereby reduces them to meaningless 
abstractions. The ground and presupposition of the 
natural is the spiritual. What is nature outwardly 
is inwardly mind. The evolution of man is the pro- 
gressive revelation of the mind which nature implies. 
Between one stage of it and another, between the 
physical and the spiritual, for example, there is no 
breach of continuity. " If animal life, though a new 
thing not reducible to its antecedents, yet comes in 
the order of nature as their due sequel; in like manner 
we must postulate that the spiritual life, the life of 
righteousness, beauty, and goodness, shall be a con- 
tinuation of the same natural, which is thus in its 
essence also a supernatural, order " (Lectures and 
Essays on Natural Theology and Ethics y p. 138). 

Now, it is this universality and spirituality of man 
that enables him, although a part of nature, to stand 
above its order and to dominate it. Because there is 
in him " the presence and power which animates the 
whole," he is necessarily impelled to establish his 
authority and influence over all things, to realise, that 
is, his potential divinity. This, in his uncivilised 
condition, he seeks to do in a wrong way. Not know- 
ing the secret of realising the infinite possibilities of 
his being, "he fancies in his impotence that thejess 
others can be, the more he makes them cease, the more 
will he himself be." He enters upon a career of ruthless 
destruction in order to establish his own ascendency. 


" His grand impulse, his glory perhaps and he some- 
times thinks it for God's glory also is to kill. He 
crushes down his fellows. He ruthlessly sweeps away 
the lower races which check the free swing of his 
interests. The beasts of the field and the fowls of the 
air fall a victim often to the mere lust of killing; and 
the choicest trees and shrubs have been irrevocably cut 
down by the maddened colonist and trader who knows 
no god but Plutus. . . . His own species he has 
sought to enslave, i.e. to destroy their separate per- 
sonality, and make them mere tools of his hand. And, 
almost universally, he has sought to make his vassal 
or bondswoman out of the woman of his own kind " 
(Lectures and Essays on Natural Theology and Ethics, 
p. 174). Thus, however, he only undermines the found- 
ation of his own being. "If there is one truth more cer- 
tain than another, it is that for everything destroyed in 
its own nature and independence, there is a correspond- 
ing lack created in the destroyer. We can only be 
what we are meant to be in proportion as we can 
establish such a relation between us and other things 
that they may realise their full being. . . . The 
enslaving man is a man enslaved, in a worse sense, by 
his slave" (Lectures and Essays on Natural Theology 
and Ethics, pp. 174-75). 

Man then can be what it is in him to be only by 
making others his partners in the business of life. The 
great basic principle of human existence is co-operation. 
United we stand, divided we fall. Standing shoulder 
to shoulder, bearing each other's burden, morality is 
to liye a corporate life of mutual service and helpful- 
ness in furtherance of the end of fully unfolding our 
nature. It is to do the duties of the place and station 
to which God has called us, not in a lifeless and 


mechanical spirit, but with cheerfulness and enthusiasm 
born of the knowledge that in this way we are 
contributing to a common purpose and a common 
good. Morality therefore is not something negative. 
It does not consist in merely avoiding certain kinds 
of undesirable activities, but in pressing forward ener- 
getically, by means of social co-operation, towards a 
complete and harmonious life. It involves unceasing 
activity in the work of subjugating nature and attain- 
ing a truer and more real self. " Virtue of the real 
stamp is positive ability, the power to act well and 
vigorously. ... It is not mere not doing something 
which is to be condemned; it is doing, or readiness 
to do, something which is required by law, by ideal, 
by social demand, by the needs of life. 5 ' Alone and 
single-handed man would be simply overwhelmed by 
the forces of nature. " If he feels himself a match 
for the powers of the physical world, it is by the 
strength of his community concentrated in conscious- 
ness." Only as a unit of society, as a member of his 
race, is he able to establish his supremacy over nature 
and to develop his powers. The two things involved 
in morality are movement to end and social co-opera- 
tion. By nature man is an indolent being. " His 
industry is an effort : his work is only partly a pleasure : 
he constantly relapses from the strain. 55 But the infinite 
in him does not allow him to be restful and contented. 
" He is always in division and tension between what 
he is and what he ought to be." The essential con- 
dition of his fulfilling the task thus imposed on him 
is social union. The consciousness of end, of possi- 
bilities to be attained, depends on sociality. Conversely, 
sociality is the outcome of the effort to realise the 


It will thus be seen that "reason is not of the 
individual, as such, but only of the socialised or 
civilised individual." All the products of reason, 
things such as industry and commerce, science and 
art, morality and religion, present themselves only 
where human beings are associated with one another 
within an organised whole. Association, regarded as 
a mere external fact, is not of course the productive 
cause of these. What is inwardly free activity deter- 
mined by rational end, has for its outward form social 
organisation. Of society viewed as the concrete em- 
bodiment of reason, the objective modes of life are 
necessary features. Property, wealth, trade, commerce, 
in short, all the external materials of civilisation are 
inseparably and organically connected with associated 
human life. They are the outcome of social man 
putting his will into outward things, and form the 
concrete content of morality and civilisation. Divorced 
from the inner spirit they are only " the skeleton, the 
carcase, the dry bones of life, the machinery of living 
left apart from the ultimate ends which it subserves." 
The essence of worldliness is to believe that they 
are everything, to identify civilisation with " certain 
objects, a collection or aggregate of things, a stock of 
objective goods or materials, a machinery of useful 
and pleasant things, of which we can draw up a list 
more or less complete." In a natural reaction against 
this tendency, we may pass to the opposite extreme 
and declare that " civilisation is an inner subjective 
thing, a state of mind and character." Such a separa- 
tion of the inner from the outer, however, is impossible. 
" Civilisation in the fuller sense is the union, or, to 
say it better, the identity, i.e. the being-in-oneness, of 
outer and inner, of subjective and objective. But when 


we say union or identity we must note that this is not 
juxtaposition or addition. It is not enough merely to 
add to the abundance of material civilisation a sufficient 
extension of literary culture, of manners, of common 
sociality. The two elements must become in a deeper 
way one. The material must embody the formal; the 
intellectual life grow out of the corporeal " (Lectures 
and Essays on Natural Theology and Ethics^ p. 159). 
Material civilisation " must become the visibility of the 
spirit." The important thing is to perceive that "a com- 
munity is civilised in which the solidarity of human 
effort is the first and foremost principle, in which citizen- 
ship is realised as the governing idea of all life. But 
realised and real it must be, and not merely acknow- 
ledged as a mental principle or in words and forms. 
A community is not civilised in which the subordina- 
tion of all the materials of civilisation to the common 
weal does not receive palpable expression " (Lectures 
and Essays on Natural Theology and Ethics, p. 159). 
If it is true that the material conditions of life must 
be sanctified by the life of spirit to which they con- 
tribute, it is no less true that these conditions are part 
and parcel, essential ingredients of the spiritual life. 
" The ordinary observer of modern times has been 
apt to draw distinction between the moral life and the 
economic or industrio-commercial life, very much to 
the glorification of the former. Yet, as against this, 
it must be said that industry and trade are intrinsically 
parts of the moral life, and that, in so far as they 
fail to be so, they at the very same moment cease to 
fulfil their own proper function " (Lectures and Essays 
on Natural Theology and Ethics , p. 160). No mistake 
is greater than to suppose that morality and religion 
are concerned exclusively with the higher life and 


have nothing to do with ordinary mundane affairs. 
Separated from the external material conditions of 
human existence, they are absolutely empty things, 
forms without content. " You think religion will cure 
the wretched homes of horrid poverty and insolent 
wealth; but it will not; for religion will not and cannot 
live where there are such abominations. You fancy 
morality sits high and safe on the eternal rocks of 
reason : but, probably, if you got nearer, you would 
find that the venerable queen of life has long since 
been petrified in these altitudes " (Lectures and Essays 
on Natural Theology and Ethics, p. 165). 

In his struggles to be what he ought to be as a 
moral being, man is supported by the religious con- 
viction that however great the obstacles in his path 
may for the moment be, his ultimate success is assured, 
for he has the backing of the supreme power in the 
universe. The moral ideal, the good, is attainable, 
because the good is also the true, and is the immanent 
reality in which we live, move and have our being. 
To obey conscience therefore is the same thing as to 
follow God. But " you must realise that, whichever 
you do, you take your life in your hands; you enter 
on a grand enterprise, a search for the holy grail, which 
will bring you to strange lands and perilous seas. For 
you cannot say, interpreting, c Thus far and no further, 
merely, according to the bond and the duty. 5 In 
following God you follow by what has been, what 
is ruled and accomplished, but you follow after what 
is not yet. c It may be that the gulfs will wash us 
down 5 ; it may be that the gods of the past will rain 
upon us brimstone and horrible tempest. But He that 
is with us is more than all that are against us. Who- 
ever keeps his ear ever open to duty, always forward, 


never attained, is not far from the kingdom. The 
gods may be against him, the demi-gods may depart, 
but he, as said Plotinus, c if alone, is with the Alone * " 
(Lectures and Essays on Natural Theology and Ethics, 
p. 210). 

In the nine essays on ethics included in the volume 
edited by Caird, Wallace discusses some of the most 
important questions of moral philosophy. Caird has 
evidently arranged these essays in the order in which 
the topics considered naturally follow each other. The 
first essay is on " Our Natural Rights." It gives a 
very interesting account of the origin and growth of 
the idea of natural rights and explains the sense in 
which it is valid. The point of view is substantially 
the same as that of Green. Wallace shows that one 
of the most distinguishing features of human life is 
that it is dominated by the idea of common ends 
and ideals. " The human being is essentially a social 
animal; a creature which enters into confederacy with 
others, which forms groups or unities." The eighteenth 
century doctrine, therefore, that society is the outcome 
of a compact made by men possessing natural rights 
for the safe enjoyment of those rights is absolutely 
wrong. Man never existed and never can exist 
independently of society. It is as a unit of a whole 
alone that he can have his rights. They are powers 
secured to him by a higher authority to which he is 
subject. "The mere individual has no rights as such; 
he has rights only as a person, i.e. as member of a 
society, as embodying in himself, at least partially, the 
larger aggregate of which he is a unit." By exercising 
his rights, a person as " an individual realising" the 
universal " performs a social function, the function 
namely of contributing in some specific manner to the 


common good. " Natural rights then are consequences 
of the fundamental laws of social existence, of those 
laws which make life in common possible in all countries 
and all times.' 5 The conditions of social life, of course, 
vary from country to country and from age to age, 
but, in the midst of all variations, certain essential 
forms of association remain constant. " These general 
features of life never presented abstractly by themselves 
but always realised in a special type are what give 
rise to what have been called the absolute or natural 
rights of man." By natural rights one may also mean 
the conditions of healthy social life as distinguished 
from the abnormal deviations from them that take 
place when society is more or less out of order, as, 
for example, when a particular class thrives at the 
expense of others. In such circumstances the demand 
for natural rights means only a demand for justice 
and equal opportunities, for the removal of arbitrary 
restrictions interfering with the free play of 

Rights then belong only to an individual who is 
a member of some social system. They " mark out 
the place which belongs to each in that system, and 
are only valid when such a system, economy or con- 
stitution prevails." Apart from such a system, an indi- 
vidual is not a person and has no rights. " The basis 
of his rights lies in the system to which he belongs; 
and to belong to a system is to perform the functions 
which are required of him in that system, not merely 
to be a passive and idle member of it, fruges consumers 

For all practical purposes the maximum of social 
unity is attained in the state. " It may be taken for 
the supreme society; and up to it all subordinate 


societies refer; or it finally takes cognisance of all 
inferior societies, as if they were its delegates and 
instruments. The state then is the ultimate creator, 
guardian and guarantee of all rights in this world. It 
exists by the combined action of its members and 
exists more or less clearly in the consciousness of each." 
" The state," Wallace concludes, " must realise that it 
is mortal god, and that in this world it should be 
ubiquitous and omnipotent." 

Rights arise out of personality, which is distinguished 
from things by its possession of self -consciousness. 
As a self-conscious being a person is at once universal 
and individual, confined to narrow limits of time and 
place and yet capable of looking beyond them. By 
reason of their fmitude as corporeal beings, persons 
are distinguished and kept apart from each other, but 
they are also brought together by their rational nature 
as co-operant members of an organic whole. Without 
being united they could not realise themselves as 
distinct individuals. It is in association and com- 
petition with others that men attain to personality. 
Without mutual exclusion and the distinction of meum 
and tuum personality is impossible, but the other side 
of this mutual exclusion is the interconnection of the 
excluding individuals. Human beings are persons only 
in so far as they recognise each other as free beings 
within the unity of society and, confining themselves 
to their several spheres of action and refraining from 
interfering with each other, discharge functions essential 
to the well-being of the whole and, therefore, of 
themselves. Banded together, their ultimate purpose 
is to realise their potential universality, to press beyond 
their limited actuality to their unlimited possibility. 
They have rights not against the whole, the state, to 


which they belong, but against each other. "Right 
assigns to each his place and prevents one from en- 
croaching on another." It is not necessary that they 
should be equal. Indeed they cannot be equal, for 
" they are simply the powers belonging to the indi- 
vidual which are licensed, accepted or recognised by 
the state." It is notorious that individuals differ very 
widely from each other in respect of their natural 
powers. The only equality therefore which is possible 
is equality before the law, arising from the recognition 
of the dignity of common humanity underlying all 
differences of wealth, position and power. 

The responsibility of a person lies in his doing what 
is required of him as a member of an organised system. 
It " implies an ordered world, in which all things (act) 
have their place and are related to one another, have 
mutual connexions " (Lectures and Essays on Natural 
Theology and Ethics, p. 304). Every normal human 
being is a sort of public functionary, who is expected 
so to act in his station as to promote the order and 
progress of the community to which he belongs. It 
is assumed that he has social instincts and sympathies, 
possesses a healthy sense of reality, is able to form 
some estimate of the probable consequences of his 
actions, and has a general knowledge of the law under 
which he lives, of " the recognised and published 
conditions " of his membership of society. He is 
also presumed to be capable of some measure of 

With responsibility duty is closely connected. In 
fact.they may be regarded as different aspects of the 
same thing. The implication of every man being a 
member of a group is that he is raised above his selfish 
isolation and has to live a collective life, " a spirit only 


realised by the energies of individuals, and yet living 
on above and beyond them taken singly." What he 
in his station must do to promote the interests of his 
group is his duty. The essence of duty is to work 
with single-minded devotion for the community into 
which one's lot is cast. Wallace illustrates this idea 
by an interesting representation of the career of 
Frederic the Great. 

Throughout his ethical discussions Wallace lays the 
greatest stress on the social nature of man and on the 
supreme need of the organisation of human life. His 
treatment of the question of hedonism from this point 
of view is most interesting and suggestive. Like many 
other writers of his school, Wallace points out that 
the mistake of the hedonist is to hypostatise pleasure. 
It is not an independent entity, an object per se^ but 
" the sign or symptom of self-realisation." It is not 
itself the end of action, but the sign that we have 
attained the end. It is the outcome of the adaptation 
of the agent to the environment and of the environ- 
ment to the agent. The end of human action is self- 
realisation, and of progress towards this end happiness 
is the indication. But " the self which is realised is 
not the mere self living a solitary life, but a self which, 
with varying grades of attraction, draws first family, 
then city, and lastly the whole human kind into the 
circle of its self-interest" (Lectures and Essays on 
Natural Theology and Ethics , p. 367). The pleasures 
therefore which are to be sought are not, as the hedonist 
thinks, those which are greater in quantity, but those 
which are attached to activities that "contribute 
towards the production of the common well-being or 
general comfort." The enjoyment of pleasure is not 
a matter in which an individual is alone concerned. 


"All pleasures have a social element, and they cease 
to be real pleasures except in so far as they are 
correlated to the consciousness of other men." Happi- 
ness therefore does not consist in the enjoyment of the 
largest possible number of isolated pleasures, but in 
the reduction of them to elements of an organised 
system. It " as a general idea of well-led life, of 
activities perfectly realised, lays down the law to 
pleasure in its individual appearances. The system- 
atised totality, which is not a mere sum of pleasures, 
but the organic unity in which pleasures tend to 
become completely harmonious, is the standard and 
the measure as against the individual and the occasional. 
Life organised is the judge as against the several un- 
organised detail-performances of life. Happiness is 
the summum bonum as against the single or several 
pleasures 35 (Lectures and Essays on Natural Theology 
and Ethics , p. 369). The search for happiness, "if it 
is not to degenerate into a mere clutching at a maximum 
of pleasures, and so eventually to contradict and destroy 
itself, must be regulated by the organisation of human 
life, by its objective manifestation in institutions and 
modes of life." 

Such an organisation of life is the function of the 
state. The various aspects of human nature, its funda- 
mental impulses and powers, are embodied in and 
supported by social institutions of different kinds. 
These institutions require to be so co-ordinated and 
subordinated in an organised system that " none can 
claim more than its due share of the individual life, 
or Attempt to cancel the claims of other aspects. To 
secure this latter condition is the business of the state 
which seeks to organise social institutions in such a 
way that it may be an exact reproduction of the whole 


tendencies of the whole man in their normal hierarchy 
and system." The state, therefore, is intimately con- 
nected with every department of life. Its fundamental 
purpose is the co-ordination of the various associations 
of men for the promotion of different interests and 
ideals without which life would be reduced to a chaos. 
" The rationally constituted state must be the supreme 
visible organisation of all principles of organisation 
whatever. With the invisible kingdom of art, science, 
religion, it cannot, even if it would, deal : in the 
region of temporalities, i.e. of materialised and tangible 
existence, the state is supreme not as a supervening 
domination but as an indwelling organisation. With 
art, science, religion, as such, as spiritual principles of 
human energy, the state has nothing directly to do, 
but wherever they appear as organisations, wherever 
they rise into materialised action, there the state is 
present, not as something alien and antagonistic, but 
as the whole organisation controlling the eccentricity 
of the parts." 

The state, therefore, is, or rather ought to be a 
system in which every human being finds appropriate 
scope for the development of his nature and the satis- 
faction of his interests. It can be maintained only by 
its members properly discharging their special functions. 
u The stock from which each takes what he needs for 
his private use, he must at the same moment replenish, 
and replenish with interest as well as principal." The 
essence of the ethics of socialism is to make the 
solidarity of human beings the guiding principle of 
their actions, to demand that the social basis of jheir 
life shall not be overlooked in practice. Although 
apart from society man is an unreal abstraction, his 
egoistic and centrifugal tendencies weaken the bond of 


his union with his fellow-beings. To provide motives 
calculated to resist such tendencies is the merit of 
socialism. However mistaken its particular aims and 
policies may be, it is sound in so far as it " keeps the 
highest common good alive in the several minor or 
particular associations where particularities are only too 
likely to harden and ossify." 

The constitution of the state, if it is to fulfil its 
moral purpose, must, Wallace thinks, be democratic. 
But by democracy he understands something very 
different from what it is sometimes taken to mean. 
True democracy is not a community of men bent upon 
living a soft life of ease and comfort without troubling 
overmuch about such things as the common good and 
upon getting the maximum of rights with the minimum 
of duties, but " the organisation of the total power of 
a group of human beings in which none is merely a 
means or instrument of service, but each also enjoys 
the end of his own and other's action; in which there 
is fraternity but not necessarily equality or even vulgar 
liberty, or where the equality lies in common duty of 
service and the liberty in the removal of all mere 
passivity. " The liberty of doing what one pleases, 
limited only by the equal liberty of others, the equality 
of the knave and the fool with the wise and good, 
and the fraternity of sentimentalism and gush find no 
place in such a scheme of life. On its negative side 
"democracy is the power and force of the whole body, 
as against the decided dominance of one or of several 
classes in the body politic. " On the positive side, it 
meaQS " autonomy, self-direction, self -organisation. 
It is not the negation of direction or government, but 
its completion and universalisation." It is, therefore, 
the very opposite of mob-rule and anarchy. 



IN the writings of D. G. Ritchie, social and political 
interests predominate and the purely theological interest 
recedes somewhat into the background. "Pre-eminently 
a thinker," says his biographer. Professor Latta, " he 
abhorred thinking in vacuo y and his particular strength 
lay in his combination of philosophic insight with a 
living interest in human affairs, past, present and 
future." Like T. H. Green, under whose influence 
his philosophical principles were formed, he took deep 
interest in practical politics, and the ideal of social 
well-being and progress dominated his thought and 
action. He was strongly of opinion that practical 
action must be based upon principles and that questions 
of ethics and politics must, ultimately, be viewed from 
the standpoint of general philosophy. In his study of 
practical problems, Ritchie sought to combine the point 
of view of idealism with that of Darwinism. Idealistic 
evolutionism is the name he was disposed to give to 
the theory to which he was led "by the teaching of 
Thomas Hill Green on the one side and by the influence 
of scientific friends on the other." As a philosopher, 
he, of course, saw that Darwinian principles could 
not be applied to human affairs indiscriminately and 
without qualification; but his keen appreciation of 


D. G. RITCHIE 189 

those principles distinguished him from idealistic 
writers like Stirling whose hostility to Darwinism was 
as pronounced as his sympathy with it. 

" Of an absolutely simple and unaffected nature," 
says Miss E. S. Haldane, " Ritchie pursued the truth 
he set himself to seek with an entire devotion." He 
was a very systematic thinker, and sought to deduce 
all his conclusions from what he took to be first prin- 
ciples. In him, as in Green, the thinker was completely 
fused with the citizen. cc His social optimism," says 
Professor Latta, " made him an ardent and incessant 
worker, restlessly intent on thoroughness of thinking, 
impatient of abstractions and hasty generalisations, and 
scrupulous in his endeavour to attain accuracy of state- 
ment and reference as regards even the minutest details. 
But there was no hardness in his sense of duty. It 
was rather a buoyant and optimistic belief springing 
from his living interest in human well-being and 
progress. For him the whole duty of man lay not in 
doing good things but in doing them well, and from 
this deep moral conviction there passed into his life 
a courtesy, gentleness and frankness that seemed in- 
stinctive in its readiness and ease " (Philosophical 
Studies, p. 1 6). 

In metaphysics Ritchie is a thorough-going idealist, 
but in the construction of his theory he is most anxious 
to do full justice to the concrete facts of experience. 
He believes that the strength of idealism lies just in 
this, that it alone is capable of giving an interpretation 
of reality as a whole which is consistent with the 
well-ascertained results of scientific investigation. With 
reality both science and philosophy are concerned, but 
their points of view are different. The particular 
sciences deal not with reality as a whole ? but with 


limited sections of it. They abstract from the con- 
ditions of knowledge under which alone there can be 
facts for us, and seek to discover the laws governing 
the phenomena with which they deal. For this purpose 
they have necessarily to use categories or conceptions 
without testing them. It is the function of philosophy 
to criticise these categories, to exhibit their limitations 
and one-sidedness, and to trace out their organic rela- 
tions to one another as elements of a single whole. 
With questions of fact or the controversies that arise 
within particular sciences, philosophy has nothing to 
do. Its criticism becomes necessary only when the 
scientific specialist goes beyond his proper jurisdiction 
and begins to make pronouncements about the nature 
and meaning of the universe as a whole. Science deals 
with particular facts or groups of facts, comprised 
within the whole; philosophy with the meaning of the 

What is reality ? What is its ultimate import ? This 
is the fundamental question of philosophy. In attempt- 
ing to answer it, Ritchie begins by pointing out that 
the objectively real is that which fits in with the totality 
of our experience and with the experience of other 
normal persons. What belongs to a coherent and 
intelligible system is real. " All thinking, all effort 
to know and understand the universe in however 
partial a way, makes the assumption that, so far at 
least as we can understand it, it is intelligible, i.e. 
it is a coherent, rational system. Philosophy, which 
aspires to know the universe as a whole, makes the 
assumption that the universe as a whole is one coherent, 
intelligible system, though there may be much that to 
minds such as ours must always remain unintelligible " 
(Philosophical Studies, pp. 72-73). This assumption 

D. G. RITCHIE 191 

science tacitly makes. There would be no sense in 
seeking to know the secrets of nature if nature were 
not essentially an intelligible system. The unintelli- 
gible we ascribe to defects in our present state of 
knowledge. Such a system, however, is a " necessary 
system of thought-relations." What we think about 
things is not, of course, the things, if by ' we ' any 
particular c we ' be meant. What is real is so through 
its connection with other reals by means of the prin- 
ciples which make experience possible. If experience 
is a systematic whole, its elements are real only as they 
are necessarily related to each other. To say this is to 
say that whatever is real is so by conforming to the 
conditions of experience whereby it has a definite place 
in the total system of experience. The one ultimate 
reality, that is to say, is the all-inclusive system of 
things of which thought is the central constitutive 
principle. The world, no doubt, appears to us as 
spread out in space and time, but the very fact " that 
we know space as space and time as time, i.e. that we 
recognise the outside-one-another of things and the 
after-one-another of events, proves that in some sense 
(whether we can explain it or not) we are not in space 
and time. Space and time exist for thought as forms 
in which we must perceive things " (Darwin and Hegel, 
pp. 88-89). And "the way in which things must 
Appear to us and to other similar beings must be 
included in a perfect or complete knowledge of the 
universe, just as the way in which a picture will appear 
to the spectator is part of what the artist knows about 
it. There is no reason to suppose that omniscience 
knows only abstract universals mathematical formulae 
without any knowledge of the way in which things 
will appear to beings conditioned by time and space 


and perception through a limited number of senses" 
(Philosophical Studies, p. 90). 

There is no absolute opposition between thought 
and reality. If they were separate entities, there could 
be no sort of relation whatever between them. The 
distinction of thought and reality falls within thought. 
It is thought that makes this distinction and goes 
beyond it. As such, it is not mere discursive intellect, 
but concrete reason that includes all the varied elements 
of experience within itself. 

As to the relation between the one and the many, 
Ritchie holds that philosophy must be monistic. But 
monism of the right kind does not mean setting aside 
the many as unreal. All that it contends for is that 
beneath the differences of things there is an ultimate 
unity of which they are the expression. Mere multi- 
plicity is impossible : so is an undifferentiated unity. 
The many must be viewed as the correlative of the 
one, and the one must be seen to be " the one in the 
many, not the one alongside of the many." Identity 
and difference are not mutually exclusive. " A uni- 
verse which is one system, but a system whose infinite 
complexity we never grasp and to which we strive to 
approximate through various kinds and degrees of 
abstraction such a c one in the many y is the pre- 
supposition of all Science, and a complete comprehension 
of it is the unattainable ideal of a synthetic philosophy " 
(Philosophical Studies, p. 200). 

The individual alone, we are told, is real. But what 
is the individual ? Apart from the universals, of which 
it is the meeting-point, it is nothing. If we think out 
the notion of individuality, we shall find that isolated 
self-subsistent individuals are impossible. "Each 
finite individual," says Professor Pringle-Pattison, in 

D. G. RITCHIE 193 

the second edition of his Hegelianism and Personality, 
u has its place within the one real universe, or the one 
real being, with all the parts of which it is inseparably 
connected. But the universe is itself an individual 
or real whole, containing all its parts within itself, 
and not a universal of the logical order containing 
its exemplifications under it. 55 With this Ritchie 
entirely agrees, but he points out that of such an 
individual a universal consciousness is the ground and 

In the problems of ethics and politics Ritchie took 
special interest. He regarded it as an error to separate 
the one from the other or either of them from meta- 
physics. The foundation of both ethics and politics 
must be provided by metaphysics. It is impossible to 
consider the theory of conduct without considering the 
relation of the individual to society and to God. Man 
is a moral being because he is finite and infinite in 
one. " Our minds just because we know them finite 
cannot be merely finite. That which is altogether 
limited cannot know itself as limited." The self- 
consciousness presupposed in all knowledge operates in 
us, but because it is universal, it cannot be known 
as particular things are known. It is never realised 
completely in our experience. " We cannot get behind 
it. It is there, we know it must be there, and yet it 
is not there." Hence arises the distinction between 
the actual and the ideal and the realisation of the ideal, 
the universal self, comes to be our end. The end of 
conduct is self-realisation and not happiness. "It is 
a terrible irony to say happiness is the end we ought 
to pursue. It is a hopeless pursuit. If happiness is 
the end we may well despair and make pessimism our 
creed." The self that has to be realised is not the 

H.N.-H. M 


self as finite and individual. It is a social self, w first 
the family, clan or tribe, then the city or nation, 
finally humanity." For practical purposes, the best 
thing is to treat self-realisation as the good of a 

It is as members of society working hand in hand 
for the furtherance of the common good that individuals 
can develop their nature and be truly individual. Self 
and other selves mutually interpenetrate and interpret 
each other. The very differentiation of a man as an 
individual implies his co-existence with other indi- 
viduals and his dependence upon the whole to which 
he and they equally belong. Virtues and duties, there- 
fore, have no meaning apart from the institutions of 
society which give them concrete form. To suppose 
that morality is independent of society is the error of 
intuitionism in ethics. Its defect is its individualistic 
character. Man is not a lonely being cut off from his 
fellows, and his moral ideas are not to be found ready- 
made within his mind. They grow along with the 
development of customs and institutions and are in- 
separably connected with them. To say this is not 
to deny the validity of the moral principles. Origin 
has nothing to do with validity. The anxiety of the 
intuitionists to show that duties are independent of 
social factors and conditions is largely due to the 
mistaken belief that the value of a thing is deter- 
mined by its origin. When we have given an 
historical account of the origin of a subject, we have 
not explained its worth and meaning. Duties do not 
cease to be binding on us because it can be shown 
that they are the outcome of social development. In 
prescribing absolute moral laws, intuitionism fails to 
perceive that the moral ideal is progressive and ignores 

D. G. RITCHIE 195 

the impprtance of customs, usages and institutions. It 
tends " to fossilise the principles of conduct at the 
particular stage of social development which commends 
itself to the particular intuitionist." 

The theory of natural rights is in politics the 
analogue of intuitionism in ethics. Just as duties are 
supposed to be independent of society, so are rights 
conceived as belonging to men antecedently to their 
membership of a community. The intuitionist and the 
apostle of natural rights have both an individualistic 
bias. Society is regarded as made by men joining 
together for the purpose of safeguarding their pre- 
existing natural rights. It is not seen that " the person 
with rights and duties is the product of a society, and 
the rights of the individual must therefore be judged 
from the point of view of a society as a whole and 
not the society from the point of view of the indi- 
vidual " (Natural Rights, p. 102). Only persons have 
rights, but personality apart from society has no mean- 
ing. It is as animals and not as spiritual beings that we 
are distinct from one another. " What is the life of 
each of us apart from the influence of others and the 
relations in which it stands to the lives of others? 
The person can only exist in a developed political 
society which gives him rights and duties." 

Although Ritchie strongly insists on the sociality 
of man as a moral being, he is far from maintaining 
that rights and duties are finally determined by any 
actual society. We can always appeal from society as 
it is to an ideal society. In order to know what moral 
duties are in their finished form, we must call up a 
vision of a perfect society and its conditions and 
requirements. But the ideal society is not something 
distinct from the actual. In it the meaning of the 


existing society is completely realised. The standard 
of conduct is set not by society as it is but by what 
it ought to be. Moral order, therefore, implies moral 
progress, which "consists (i) in an enlargement in the 
list of virtues but still more (2) in an extension of the 
range of persons to whom obligations are due." The 
power of reflection which men have as self-conscious 
beings makes moral progress possible. They can form 
some idea of a better state of things by pondering 
over what they see around them and, from the point 
of view of the new ideal awakened in their minds, can 
criticise existing arrangements and institutions. " The 
healthiest society as things go in an imperfect world 
will be that which is most capable of criticising and 
of mending itself." This necessary task of criticism 
and reform is done by men who " can act in defiance 
of custom and even of law in working out some aim 
of their own choosing, which is not that of those 
around them." The social rebel, therefore, is a bene- 
factor to mankind. But those who rebel against society 
may be of two kinds. " He may be the precursor of 
some new and better society, in the name of which 
he condemns an existing but corrupt and decaying set 
of institutions," or he may be the deliberately selfish, 
self-seeking man for whom a life of self -gratification 
becomes possible because others are not as bad as he. 
u Society consisting only of fallible and imperfect beings 
is apt to commit mistakes, and it may now and then 
confuse the two kinds of rebels, and crucify a true 
prophet between two ordinary criminals, though the 
ratio of true prophets to ordinary criminals is not as 
a rule so high." 

The state is the highest form of social union, and 
is supreme over all corporations and associations of 

D. G, RITCHIE 197 

men for the promotion of special interests. Its end 
is the realisation of the common well-being, and all 
its action " must be such as will give individuals so 
far as is possible the opportunity of realising their 
physical, intellectual and moral capacities." The ideal 
of ethics and politics alike is social. To the socialistic 
ideal in politics individualism is opposed. The end of 
the state, according to it, is to give the fullest possible 
scope to the freedom of the individual, to give him 
liberty to work out his destiny in his own way and 
not to interfere between fully grown persons. The sole 
duty of the state, therefore, is to see to it that none in 
the exercise of his freedom interferes with the freedom 
of others. Much of the prejudice against state inter- 
ference, Ritchie points out, is due to the misconception 
of the relation between the state and the individual. 
The state is supposed by men, even by thinking men, 
to be an alien power imposing its authority upon them 
from without, and naturally the result of its action 
comes to appear as the curtailment of their freedom. 
It is not seen that the state is the organic whole of 
which its members are constituent factors, and that 
its action is no more inconsistent with their freedom 
than is the life and activity of the whole body incon- 
sistent with the functioning of any of its members. 
The objection to state interference as such is, there- 
fore, irrational. The only proper question to ask is 
whether the result of the interference of the state is 
the development of the capacities of the individual 
and the furtherance of his well-being or the reverse. 
In *he latter event alone the action of the state is 

The liberty of the individual exists not in spite of 
but because of state action. The only liberty which 


is possible and defensible is the liberty of self-realisa- 
tion by means of activities that contribute to the 
common good. It involves the association of men with 
each other, not their separation and isolation. " If 
freedom be put forward as the end of the state and 
therefore of the whole political endeavour of mankind, 
this cannot mean the mere negative liberty of being 
left alone, and, unless we suppose changes in human 
nature for which past and present experience gives us 
no warrant, such absolute want of control would mean 
a return to the lowest savagery and a tedious process 
of building up again the overthrown fabric of order 
and civilisation" (Philosophical Studies^ p. 51). To 
suppose that the evolution of society ends in complete 
individualism is a great mistake. Beyond and above 
the opposite extremes of social cohesion without indi- 
vidual liberty and individual liberty of the negative 
sort without social cohesion, there is a higher type of 
society " in which all that is most precious in indi- 
vidualism must be retained along with the stability of 
social conditions which individualism has destroyed." 
In the negation of modern individualism, it is impos- 
sible to rest. That individual freedom is essential to 
man if he is to make the most of himself few will 
deny; but freedom is a reality only in a strong state. 
It is the correlative and not the contradictory of the 
solidarity and organisation of the state. " Abolish the 
state and we should have, not individualism, but, after 
a period of anarchy, the patriarchal stage or some 
other c natural ' grouping of a more rudimentary kind. 
Society would begin over again from its lowest* ele- 
ments; and only with the rise of the state could it 
escape from savagery and barbarism " (Philosophical 
Studies^ p. 56). 

D. G. RITCHIE 199 

Ritchie takes pains to show that the theory of 
natural selection lends no support whatever to indi- 
vidualism and the political doctrine of laissez faire. 
While fully appreciating the value of this theory, he 
points out its limitations and its inapplicability to 
human affairs without essential modifications. Men 
are thinking beings and are not subject to the bio- 
logical law of evolution in the same way as the lower 
animals. Natural selection is no doubt at work among 
them, but its nature is altered by the power of thought 
and the range of its operation is restricted. Civilised 
human beings do not, like the animals or the primitive 
savage, fight out the struggle for existence to the 
bitter end, but do their best to put limits to the 
struggle. Co-operation more and more replaces rivalry 
and unchecked competition, and spontaneous variation 
gives place to the deliberate alteration of customs and 
institutions. The growth of human societies is not 
due to the mere operation of natural laws but to 
efforts consciously made by men. For the betterment 
of society, therefore, ideas are of more value than 
any hypothetical inheritance of acquired characteristics. 
But " ideas can only be productive of their full benefit 
if they are fixed in institutions." Floating opinions, 
individual beliefs, are of very little use. Just because 
" it is c not proven * that acquired characteristics are 
transmitted, we cannot trust for the improvement of 
the race to the moralisation of stray individuals now 
(however desirable and necessary that is in itself). We 
must reform institutions so that the new individuals 
shajl be born into healthy surroundings." For the 
progress of the human race Ritchie relies more on 
" social inheritance the transmission of ideas, senti- 
ments, practices through the medium of tradition and 



imitation " than on the biological law of heredity. 
He regards it as essential that men from their early 
years should be brought up in the midst of such laws, 
customs and institutions as will stimulate good and 
arrest evil tendencies. " The moral significance of the 
organisation of society can hardly be overestimated. 
It is little use preaching kindliness and consideration 
for others and hoping that sympathetic feelings will 
gradually become innate, if the society into which 
individuals are born be openly and confessedly a cease- 
less struggle and competition. For eighteen centuries 
a gospel of peace and brotherhood has been preached 
and talked; but the child plays with a toy gun and 
the youth sees the successful millionaire held up as 
his model for imitation the man who boasts that he 
is * self-made,' and who, as the American remarked, 
has by this boast ' taken a great responsibility off the 
Almighty ' " (Darwinism and Politics, p. 54). 

To the state we must turn as the one power capable 
of so organising society and its institutions as to make 
them helpful to the free development of human per- 
sonality. Ritchie was a strong socialist in his aims 
and ideal, but he did not accept in its entirety any 
of the current socialistic doctrines. He was a firm 
believer in stale action as the only means of creating 
conditions favourable for the attainment of social 
well-being, and had little patience with the view that 
unrestricted competition between individuals is the 
best means of promoting it. " Open competition 
might give results of some value if everyone were to 
start fair, run on his own legs, and carry equal weight, 
but open competition between one man in a sack with 
a bundle on his shoulders, another on a good horse, 
and a third in an express train, is a farce and a some- 

D. G. RITCHIE 201 

what cruel one, when the race is being run for dear 
life." Those who insist that without struggle nothing 
good can be attained by man may be reminded that 
" there is a struggle against nature, including the blind 
forces of human passion. There will always be enough 
to do in this ceaseless struggle to call forth all the 
energies of which human nature at its very best is 
capable." To remove the inequalities of life, to give 
equal opportunities of self-realisation to all, to reform 
institutions that stand in the way of the perfection 
of character and the happiness of individuals, to miti- 
gate the severity of the struggle for existence so that 
everyone may have some amount of leisure to cultivate 
the higher faculties of the mind, to turn mutual con- 
flict into mutual help these are the supreme end of 
state action. Men are not by nature equal. But the 
ideal is that so far as external arrangements of life 
can make them so, they ought to be equal. It is, of 
course, not possible to satisfy everyone's wishes, " but 
what we have to consider is the well-being and progress 
of society as a whole. We can only seek to provide 
the surrounding conditions which we hope will produce 
such effects." " The fact of natural inequalities can 
be no excuse for maintaining artificial inequalities 
which have very little connection with them. The 
great democratic ideal is to remove all unnatural and 
artificial barriers between man and man and to diffuse 
education and culture throughout the community in 
such a way as to " make social intercourse easy between 
all its members, between those who are engaged, say, 
in directing some great industrial enterprise and those 
who cook food or clean rooms." The ideal to be 
constantly kept before the mind is that of a society 
composed of as many free, cultivated and equal 


members as possible, and " it is well to repeat such 
a watchword as equality and fraternity, lest we should 
forget our ideal and, amid some degree of personal 
comfort, become ashamed of it." The need for eminent 
men in the various walks of life will never cease, but 
" we need all the eminence, intellectual, moral and 
artistic, that we can get not that the eminent indi- 
vidual may amass a fortune or receive the fatal gift of 
the peerage (as for those that care for such things 
verily they have their reward), but that he may exer- 
cise his gifts, as all the world's greatest men would 
wish to exercise them, for the benefit of his fellow 
men " (Darwinism and Politics, p. 50). 

The reason for the evil repute of state action, Ritchie 
thinks, is due to its being generally unmethodical and 
haphazard. " The real and significant distinction is not 
that between c state interference ' and c laissez faire ' but 
between intelligent and scientific, i.e. systematic and 
far-sighted state action on the one side and that 
peddling kind of playing at an occasional and con- 
descending providence in small matters which is often 
much worse than doing nothing at all " (Darwinism 
and Politics , p. 28). Nevertheless, "even a partial 
state action may often be welcomed as a recognition 
that the state* has duties towards its weaker members, 
however inefficiently it may discharge them." The 
state is supreme over all minor organisations, and no 
limit can be put to its action except that which is 
determined by the nature of its end. How far the 
state should intervene and how much should be left to 
the discretion and enterprise of private individuals is 
a question not to be decided by any a priori doctrine 
of " man versus the state," but by what is expedient 
and practicable under the circumstances. In principle 

D. G. RITCHIE 203 

Ritchie is not disposed to withhold any power from 
the state. He recognises its right of interference with 
individual freedom even in purely personal matters, 
provided that such interference is necessary for the 
common good. " I do consider that it is the business 
of the state (supposing a well-organised state) to regu- 
late, if possible, the birth and certainly the education 
of children so as to give them a fair chance of growing 
up into the best possible men and women." 

But when is a state well organised ? When, answers 
Ritchie, its constitution is democratic and the people 
have a voice in the administration of its affairs. It 
is essential, he thinks, that governments should depend 
on the consent of the governed. Ritchie is a staunch 
supporter of the democratic form of government, which, 
in his view, has the great advantage that " no measure 
can be carried which has not a very strong public 
opinion behind it an advantage most completely 
secured by the very democratic and yet very conser- 
vative device of the referendum. Democratic govern- 
ment may be less enlightened, less scientific, and in 
some ways more stupidly conservative than the govern- 
ment of an intelligent and benevolent monarch; but 
it has this enormous advantage, that its laws cannot 
permanently run counter to very widespread public 
sentiment " (Studies in Political and Social Ethics, 
p. 46). But if the state is to fulfil the important 
functions which, in Ritchie's view, belong to it, can 
we afford to have an unenlightened, unscientific, and 
stupidly conservative government merely because it is 
democratic? Can a state be strong, efficiently organ- 
ised, and beneficent in its activities, if its affairs are 
managed according to the will of the majority which 
happens to be momentarily prevalent? Ritchie speaks 


of the desirability of the segregation of the decadents 
and failures from the vigorous portion of the com- 
munity and of preventing them from producing 
children. Will the majority ever allow this? The 
foundation of the state is no doubt the general will, 
but, as thinkers have pointed out, the general will is 
not the same thing as the will of all, and the discovery 
of it is not an easy task. It is only wise, disinterested 
and courageous men of experience, capable of rising 
above the passions and prejudices of the hour and of 
taking a long view of things, that can truly interpret 
the real will of the people. The end of the state is to 
remove obstacles to the development of the capacities 
of men, but the greatest of such obstacles is man's 
own selfishness, short - sightedness, slothfulness and 
ignorance. If the end is to be attained, the manage- 
ment of the affairs of the state must be in the hands 
of wise and able men, men of the stamp of Plato's 
philosopher king, whom the ballot box cannot discover. 
Those who come to the top at popular elections are, 
not infrequently, mere windbags and demagogues prac- 
tised in the art of ingratiating themselves into the 
favour of the unthinking mob. " The professional 
politician," says Dr. A. Freeman, " whom democracy 
has brought -into being, differs entirely from other 
professional men. He is totally unqualified " (quoted 
by Dean Inge, Edinburgh Review, No. 477, p. 27). 
The result is that the state fails to get the guidance 
of wise and competent men, without which its pros- 
perity and well-being cannot be attained. " No demo- 
cratic system," says Mr. C. R. L. Fletcher, "can secure 
the representation of the intelligence of the nation. 
The nomination boroughs afforded the only chance for 
young men of ability without family connections to 

D. G. RITCHIE 205 

enter Parliament. Burke, both Pitts, Canning, and 
Gladstone were all nominees of great men. The last 
of these maintained in the hearing of the present 
writer that England was never better governed than 
in the last age of the old unreformed Parliament. 
People are too apt to forget that all real, substantial 
reforms proceed from intelligence alone, that intelli- 
gence is always in a minority and that democracy 
sacrifices not only intelligence but all the reforms that 
can only proceed therefrom in order to maintain itself 
and to split political power into fragments more and 
more minute" (An Introductory History of England, 
3rd ed., pp. 332-33). 

The curse of democracy is the demagogue. Its great 
problem is to secure the services of good and capable 
men of principle, but that problem remains unsolved. 
Under it, so far, trimmers and opportunists alone have 
prospered. " Democratic institutions," Ritchie tells us, 
" are defensible in so far as they offer (or can be made 
to offer) the best means of obtaining a genuine aris- 
tocracy or government by the best." Judged by this 
criterion, democracy must be pronounced to be a failure. 
Most assuredly it has failed to obtain " a genuine 
aristocracy or government by the best." Politicians 
who have to depend for their tenure of power on the 
results of triennial, quadrennial, or quinquennial elec- 
tions, held under conditions well known to all, can 
seldom afford to be guided by their honest and inde- 
pendent judgment of what is really for the good of 
the people. They are tempted to curry favour with 
the mob, to play to the gallery. Under the influence 
of the democratic system of government, men, who 
in other circumstances might have been sagacious 
rulers, are inevitably turned into demagogues. The 


higher leadership of which Lord Haldane speaks 
becomes a mockery. " We have to teach our people," 
says Lord Haldane, " if we would maintain the great 
station of our own country among the other nations 
of the earth, that they must see things steadily and 
see them whole. If we are to do this we must make 
sure that our statesmen, our local leaders, our teachers 
and our preachers have themselves something of the 
mind that is really synoptic, and are in some degree 
fitted to speak of eternity as well as of time " (Reign 
of Relativity, p. 421). Are party politics and election- 
eering campaigns very favourable to the growth of the 
power to "see things steadily and as a whole"? Can 
a politician busy collecting votes afford to have a " mind 
that is really synoptic " and " speak of eternity as well 
as of time " ? 

None in these days will deny that the duty of the 
state is to further the interests of all and not of any 
particular class of the community. But this does not 
mean that everyone is to have the same amount of 
influence in the management of affairs. Universal suf- 
frage will not cure the stupidity of men. It will 
not make them unselfish enough to subordinate their 
private interests to the common good, wise enough to 
be guided by reason and not by the passions of the 
moment. To lay stress only on the infinite worth of 
man is a mistake. As Pascal says, " it is dangerous to 
let him see too clearly his greatness without his mean- 
ness. If he boasts himself I abase him : if he abases 
himself I exalt him. I contradict him continually till 
he comprehends what an incomprehensible monster he 
is." Old-time autocracy perhaps unduly abased him, 
but is not modern democracy equally unduly exalting 
him ? If democracy means a form of state-organisation 

D. G. RITCHIE 207 

in which there is no privileged class, no favoured treat- 
ment of vested interests and no artificial inequality, but 
in which everyone finds an opportunity to make the 
most of himself and to contribute to the common good 
and all offices are open to qualified men irrespectively 
of their class or creed, no right-thinking person can 
have anything to say against it; but if by it is meant 
government according to the fickle will of the thought- 
less multitude, incapable of seeing an inch beyond their 
nose, conducted by their delegates pledge-bound to do 
their bidding, it can only be adopted by a people whom 
the gods have marked out for destruction. A state 
under such a government is never stable and orderly, 
and there is very little of a central co-ordinating 
authority in it. It is a government powerless to 
govern and at the mercy of every turbulent faction. 
No government that attempts to carry out, not in 
an amateurish fashion, but persistently, adequately 
and scientifically, such socialistic schemes as Ritchie 
favoured, can afford to be always on the look out for 
popular mandates. Germany is in evil repute now, and 
the fashion is to cry her down. Nothing succeeds like 
success and nothing fails like failure. But it was 
in monarchical Germany that experiments of state 
socialism were most successfully carried out. " She," 
observed an English newspaper when she was not yet 
defeated, " has a most admirable organisation which 
pervades every sphere of life, from the provision of 
education to the conservancy of streets, from arrange- 
ments for the aged and infirm to those for the con- 
venience of railway passengers. Never was a country 
better ordered, better cared for materially or more 
comfortable." No democratically governed country is 
ever likely to show better results. 


It will, no doubt, be said that patriotic and intelligent 
citizens cannot be content with good government: they 
must have self-government. But self-government does 
not mean the exercise of political power by everybody, 
nor is it distinguishable from good government. It is 
not synonymous with democracy. Reason is man's real 
self, and the government whose organisation is in con- 
formity with the requirements of reason in the given 
situation is at once good government and self-govern- 
ment. It does not matter in the least whether I have 
a hand in the constitution of it or in the performance 
of its functions. It is only the vanity and self-will of 
man that prevent him from seeing this. It is, no doubt, 
a requirement of reason that in the administration of 
public affairs the influence of the general will should 
be effective, but, in order to ensure this, a c respon- 
sible ' ministry removable by the vote of Parliament 
or manhood suffrage is not necessary. In certain cir- 
cumstances, such institutions, with proper safeguards, 
may be desirable, but they are not indispensable. A 
democratic organisation of society has no necessary con- 
nection with democracy as a form of government. It 
may, on the contrary, be best attained through govern- 
ment by an aristocracy of worth and talent. For the 
purpose of government with the consent of the 
governed, a general harmony of the spirit of adminis- 
tration with the trend of public opinion is all that is 

Active and intelligent citizenship does not become 
impossible because a man has not the right to vote at 
an election once in five years. For this what is neces- 
sary is doing honestly and with devotion the work 
which falls to one's lot as a member of the social 
organism. Far greater service may be rendered to the 

D. G. RITCHIE 209 

state by the silent worker than by the noisy agitator. 
Ritchie is not without misgivings about the worth of 
universal suffrage. " It is more important," he declares, 
" that offices should be open to all than all should have 
votes. Giving all a vote may be merely an escape from 
the fear of revolution : universal suffrage has nothing 
glorious about it. Taken strictly, it means the absur- 
dity that all men's opinions are of equal value " (Philo- 
sophical Studies, p. 338). Is not the revolutionary 
temper largely the outcome of centuries of false teach- 
ing? Would not the condition of the world have been 
better and happier to-day if men and women had heard 
more of the duties and less of the rights of man ? The 
assertion of individual rights in season and out of 
season has created an atmosphere congenial to the 
growth of the self-seeking spirit only. The result is 
that the avowed socialist is often at heart only an anar- 
chist, and democratically governed communities, instead 
of being firmly-compacted and well-organised bodies, 
are apt to be incohesive, inefficient and chaotic. 

On questions of world politics, Ritchie has some very 
wise remarks to make. He points out the impossibility 
of a state remaining self-contained and isolated in these 
days of rapid communication and international dealings. 
The actual state which is only one among many states 
must, therefore, be in a position to safeguard its in- 
terests, to protect its commerce and repel attacks from 
outside. This means the possibility of war and the 
necessity of being prepared for it. Ritchie regards the 
ideal of abolishing war for ever as altogether Utopian, 
so long at least as human nature remains what it is. 
It is easy to say that all war is wrong, but, unfortunately, 
in this wicked world, peace has often to be maintained 
by the use of force. If it is right to use force to put 


down individual crime, why should it be wrong to have 
recourse to it in order to maintain the peace of the 
world? It is useless to preach pacifism in season and 
out of season and to talk of disarmament as the one 
sure means of preventing wars for ever. The world 
is not full of Quakers or of the followers of Tolstoi, 
and it is necessary to remember that " there are always 
people, especially the champions of reactionary and anti- 
quated types of rule, who will recognise no argument 
unless it is backed up by sufficient force." As a proof 
of this, we may refer to the origin of the late war. The 
verdict of the impartial historian must be that it was 
due as much to the pacificism of England as to the 
militarism of Germany. If England had performed the 
elementary duty of being prepared for self-defence, if 
she had given clear and timely warning to Germany 
that in the event of unprovoked aggression she would 
be found at the side of France, the peace of the world 
would not have been disturbed. President Wilson is 
an unimpeachable authority on this point. " We know 
for a certainty," said he, at a meeting in the Metro- 
politan Opera House in New York on March 5, 1919, 
" that if Germany had thought for a moment that Great 
Britain would go in with France and Russia, she never 
would have undertaken the enterprise." 

For the preservation of peace, Ritchie relies more on 
the federation of the world than on arbitration or dis- 
armament. "Arbitration is a valuable remedy, but it is 
not a panacea, and the cause of arbitration is only 
injured by the notion that it can be made a substitute 
for war in any and every case." The breaking UD of 
the world into a large number of petty and discordant 
states, such as has happened as the direct and the in- 
direct result of the war, he regards as a set-back in the 

D. G. RITCHIE 211 

progress of the world. " We have no right to assume 
with some political theorists, that a great number of 
comparatively small independent nations, leaving the 
barbarous and the savage races of the world to c work 
out their own development,' represents either the 
highest type of human society or a possible type. May 
not a few great < empires ' in which self-governing 
federated communities control the less advanced races, 
represent a higher stage, more likely to be stable, less 
exposed to war, and preparing the way for a federation 
of the world? " (Studies in Political and Social Ethics, 
p. 158). Ritchie lived in days when the world had not 
begun to suffer from an acute attack of sentimentalism, 
and the cant about self-determination and the right of 
small nations was not generally heard. There is no 
special merit, he points out, in being a small nation. 
u The sympathy so often expressed for the weaker or 
smaller state, simply because weaker or smaller, is 
aesthetic rather than ethical." The absorption of a small 
nation in some larger, more powerful and more civilised 
state is, from the point of view of the progress of 
humanity, to be encouraged and not condemned. This 
may be an unpopular view at the present moment, but 
it is true. Ritchie did not hold up his hands in pious 
horror at the very mention of the name c empire.* In 
the best sense of the term, he was an imperialist. A 
powerful federation of self-governing communities, 
enjoying local autonomy but ready to subordinate 
sectional interests to the wider interests of the whole, 
u with dependencies more or less autocratically governed 
according to their degree of civilisation," was his ideal. 
" The armed peace of the German Empire," he wrote 
in 1901, "may not be an ideal condition of society; 
but it is infinitely better than the acute agony of the 


thirty years' war or the chronic maladies of the Holy 
Roman Empire an empire which rested only on senti- 
ment and had no armed force to support it and to keep 
the subject princes from fighting with each other." 

Ritchie's view of religion is determined by his 
socialistic ideal. He has little respect for systems of 
faith which are more concerned with the other world 
than with this. " How often has the recompense of 
a future life been an excuse for deferring justice in 
this! The kingdom of heaven and the reign of 
righteousness have been contentedly deferred to 
another world, a happy land far, very far, away, and 
the oppressed have been told to wait patiently, while 
their oppressors could make their peace with God by 
a death-bed repentance and a dying bequest for reli- 
gious or charitable purposes. The best spirits have 
often had their best energies withdrawn from aiding 
their fellow-men, in order to contemplate in ecstasy the 
bizarre splendours of the New Jerusalem. The pre- 
paration for death has consumed the zeal that might 
have been devoted to making life better" (Philosophical 
Studies, pp. 308-9). The ideal of true religion is to 
realise the kingdom of God on earth, and this, if we 
look beneath its outer crust, has always been the high 
purpose of Christianity. To make society and its insti- 
tutions better and healthier is, in spite of its many 
aberrations, its constant aim. " It is impossible to con- 
tinue to live up to a new ideal without attempting to 
form a society which shall embody it." Spiritual ideas 
must take shape in laws and customs. As a social 
religion, the distinctive feature of Christianity is " the 
proclamation of a gospel to all mankind irrespective of 
race, class or sex, and of a gospel which was one not 
of despair of life but of hope for the outcasts and the 

D. G. RITCHIE 213 

oppressed of the earth." Its ideal is to lose life to save 
it, "which is the spiritual truth in the ideas of incar- 
nation and resurrection (God becomes man, i.e. humbles 
himself, suffers, dies to live that man may do the 
same), and which is independent of any particular events 
happening on earth." 



"ENGLAND'S most renowned thinker of recent times," 
says Hoffding, " is undoubtedly Francis Herbert 
Bradley." In this verdict there will probably be general 
acquiescence. As Lord Haldane truly remarks, " he 
has done the work of the great metaphysicians over 
again in a fashion which is unparalleled in recent times 
for its thoroughness and acuteness, and he stands at the 
very head of the philosophical world " (Pathway to 
Reality, Vol. II., p. 74). Professor Muirhead speaks 
of him as " the most original writer of our time," who 
" has been by general acknowledgment the foremost 
figure in British philosophy (perhaps in the philosophy 
of our time in any country) for the last generation " 
(Contemporary British Philosophy, p. 9). His Appear- 
ance and Reality is without question the most important 
constructive work that Neo-Hegelianism has produced. 
There is very little direct reference in it to the thoughts 
of others, and the conclusions are throughout developed 
in an independent spirit, although the author does not 
conceal his indebtedness to Hegel. The book may be 
said to mark the end of the period during which British 
followers of Kant and Hegel were mainly occupied in 
assimilating and developing their ideas and to begin 
the era of a more independent handling of the perennial 
problems of knowing and being. Its influence on the 



metaphysical thought of this generation it is impossible 
to over-rate. Bradley's philosophical achievement has 
been variously estimated. By many he is regarded as 
the most brilliant exponent of monistic idealism in 
recent times, by others he is supposed to be essentially 
a jJcejDtic, and there are some who think that he should 
be called a mystic. He has, of course, been subjected 
to criticism from many sides, but, like Hegel, he has 
been more refuted than understood. A just apprecia- 
tion of what he teaches is still a desideratum. In his 
outlook, if not in his method, Bradley perhaps stands 
nearer to Hegel than many others who have drawn their 
inspiration from him. His conception of the Absolute 
js^ in its main outlines T The same as that of Hegel, but 
he does not, like HegeL make any attempt to deter- 
mine the exact place of f-arh ^lem^nt nf reality in ^n 
articulated system. He is content with showing that 
TTIthe concepts of ordinary thought and of science and 
metaphysics are taken as ultimate, they will be found 
to be riddled with contradictions, and that they can be 
justified only if they are viewed as limited aspects or 
c appearances ' of the one ultimate reality. 
This ....... ultixnat&.xeality 

relational experience. 1 1 is an undivided~lvKo^ 
which everything falls. It is not mere object, nor mere 
self or mind, but the felt totality from which these arise 
by means of ideal construction. The Absolute or the 
universe is one experience which appears in diverse 
finite centres in each of which it is immanent. By 
virtue of this immanence, the finite centres are 
interconnected and are comprised within the Absolute 
reality. There is no sense in speaking of transcending 
my finite centre to gain the Absolute, or the Absolute 
to gain my finite centre. Within the Absolute, a lower 


jorrr^of reality may be transcended in order to reach 
the higher, butjt_is_ngt possible.,, to go beyond the 
Absolute itself. All divisions and distinctions arise 
InsTdFTt and are made possible by its over-reaching 
unity. It is a higher experience in which different kinds 
of fragmentary experiences are unified and harmonised. 
The error of popular thought is to take some distinc- 
tion within the whole and to set it up as unconditionally 
real. Either it, it is supposed, is real, or something else, 
equally limited and one-sided, is real. It is not seen 
that everything is real j,n_jts own place ?nH Hfgtw> ; fait 
hot so as to interfere with others. " It is the true 
Absolute alone that gives its due to every interest just 
because it refuses to everything more than its due." To 
deny, for example, that the Absolute is mere thought 
is not to affirm that it is not thought, or to maintain 
that it is not one-sidedly will is not to deny that it is 
w ^l- Thoughtjjeeling and will are real not as absolute 
themselves, but as distinguishable and complementary 
aspects of the one whole. Similarly, changej.s not ulti- 
mate ty ~real, but this does not mean that it Js not a 
subordinate appearance of the^ultimate reality. The 
Absolute is not changeless anastatic. The distinctions 
which_the intellect makesare_not illusory. They do 
qualify reality. But, on the other hand, the terms and 
relations into which analysis resolves the given whole 
are not the final truth. By themselves, they do not 
give us the one liarmonious and all-comprehending 
whole of experience which alone is the supreme reality. 
Baldly stated, the above is the thesis which Bradley 
attempts to establish in his great work, Appearance ^and 
Reality. He first discusses some of the ideas by which 
we try to comprehend the universe and shows that they 
give us only partial views of reality or mere appear- 

F. H. BRADLEY 217 

ances. The^ejyyse^^ 

ne^s, contract themselves and point to a whole of 
which they^are^glements and in which the)Tare sujpple- 
meAted . and Corrected. ^JThe_fiferLtP. understand the 
nature of this whole is metaphysics. Bradley makes no 
attempt to deal systematically and exhaustively with the 
partial aspects of being or to demonstrate how exactly 
they come together in the Absolute reality. All that 
he does is to show that each of them, taken singly, is 
self-contradictory and completes itself by uniting with 
the rest in the Absolute of which only the general 
nature can be known by us. 

Bradley begins with the well-known attempt to 
explain things by the distinction between primary 
and secondary qualities. Primary qualities, extension 
together with the various relations of space, it is held. 
belong actually to things and are independent of us, 
while secondary qualities are^ derivative and variable ancl 

of sense TEeTextended Jflone is real: everything else 
is mere appearance. But what appears is there and has 
got to fall somewhere. Does it belong to reality? If 
so, it must infect reality with its own unreal character, 
If not, it has no relation to reality and cannot be 
regarded as derivative. The so-called primary qualities 
*keir rcktion, to pur percipience as 

-.- , 

the secondary. AiTcolour islrelated to the eye, sound 
to the ear, so is the extended related to our tactual 
and muscular feelings. And, lastly, it is impossible !_tc 
separate the primary from fhft.wnnHniy qniilitW The 
former apa^fkm^ Exten- 

sion, divorced from colour, sound, etc., has no meaning, 
It is a false abstraction when taken as a thing existing 
by itself. "Yet the materialist, from defect of nature 


or of education, or probably both, worships without 
justification this thin product of his untutored fancy." 
The distinction of primary from secondary qualities, we 
thus see, fails to bring us nearer to the true nature of 

Nor is it possible Jo arrive at reality by distinguish- 
ing things and their qualities. A thing^has^jij^^ 
qualities, buj^kjcannot be identified with any one of 
OTerrL The sugar, for example, is sweet, but it is not 
simply sweet. It is a unity of its various qualities. 
But what is this unity? What is there in the thing 
besides its qualities? In answer, it may be said that 
it consists in the qualities not taken severally but in 
relation. This, however, leads us straight to a serious 
difficulty. We find that qualities and their relations are 
theoretically altogether unintelligible. Qualities have 
no meaning apart from relations. Take away from 
"qualities the relations in which they stand to each other 
ancT there is nothing. But, on the other hand, they 
cannot be resolved wholly into the relations. Relations 
imply terms quite as much as terms imply relations. 
The qualities must be and must also be related. But 
this is unintelligible. Each of the related terms must 
have a ^louBTe character, as supportin^jHerelation and 
as made by therelatioQ. Within each thing, therefore, 
an internal discrepancy arises, and " its contents are 
dissipated in an endless process of distinction." From 
the side of relations also, we find that with or without 
their qualities they are unintelligible. A relation witfr- 
out terms is a mere word. It implies terms. But terms 
must be beyond their relation. ,And yeF"the relation 
must be something to them, must somehow affect tnem. 
If so, a connecting link becomes necessary between a 
term and its relation, and " again we are hurried into 

F. H. BRADLEY 219 

the eddy of a hopeless process, since we are forced to 
go on finding new relations without end." All this 
proves that " a relational way of thought any one that 
moves by the machinery of terms and relations must 
give appearance and not truth. It is a makeshift, a 
device, a mere practical compromise, most necessary, 
but in the end most indefensible." 

Space and time also are only appearance and not 
reality. Wejire unable to form any self -consistent "idea 
of s^ace. It is not and yet is a relation. As a con- 
tinuous whole^ "IF is a unity having definite boundaries 
and is composed of solid inter-related parts which are 
not mere relations. On the other hand, the parts of 
space must themselves be spaces resolvable into further 
parts, and so on without end. A space or a part of 
space not consisting of relations between its constituent 
parts is an impossibility. " Anything extended is a 
collection, a relation of extendeds, which again are 
relations of extendeds, and so on indefinitely." And, on 
the other side, taken as a unit, space passes beyond 
itself in search of a self-contained whole which it 
cannot find. Further, empty space is an abstraction, 
and yet we cannot understand how extension is 
connected with what is extended. 

Similar considerations apply to time. The attempt 
to think of it as one whole made up of discrete moments 
gives rise in fresh forms to all the difficulties about 
terms and their relation. 

Motion implies the being of the same thing in two 
placesjuccessively in one time, jind this involvesj:ontra- 
diction. Underlying it is the problem of change, and 
unless thisjproblem^s solved motion stands condemned. 
Change is little more than a fresh instance of the 
dilemma of terms and relations. The root of the diffi- 


culty about it is the impossibility of bringing together 
in an intelligible manner the opposed elements of unity 
and diversity. If a thing changes, it cannot be per- 
manent, and unless it is permanent what is it thaF 
changes ? If A remains as it is, it does not change, and 
if it changes it becomes resolved into A 1 , A 2 , A 3 , and 
is no longer in being. How to bring together per- 
manence and Change ^consistently we do not know. 1 Our 
usual procedure is to evade the difficulty by shutting 
our eyes now to the aspect of unity, now to the aspect 
of diversity, as suits our purpose. This is a makeshift 
practically convenient, but theoretically the problem 
remains unsolved. Change, therefore, does not give us 
the truth about reality. 

The claim of causation to express reality is not more 
defensible. ^A is the cause of B. But A is not the same 
^^"J^lPJiL C J!^wpd by B." How then canJB whichjs 
altogether different from A be yet ascribed to it ? If 
the succession of the effect on the cause is different from 
the cause there is no intelligible means of connecting 
the two. On the other hand, if there is no difference, 
causation does not exist. This is the fundamental 
dilemma. If it be said that the cause was not A but 
A joined with C, the question which arises is this: 
Does C make any difference to A? If so, then A has 
already been altered and the problem of causation arises 
within A. We are therefore forced to further modify 
our position by making the cause recede backwards in 
time and spread laterally until all possible conditions 
are taken in. But a completed world at any one 
moment is not possible. On the other hand, % if C 
makes no difference to A, how can it account for the 

*May it not rather be said that we do not know how to separate 
permanence and change consistently ? 

F. H. BRADLEY 221 

effect? Besides these difficulties, causation, implying 
time, is involved in the antinomy of the continuity 
and discreteness of time. We must, therefore, conclude 
that it is mere appearance. 

Activity too is a mass of inconsistency and must be 
condemned as appearance. It implies the change of 
something into something else. The change is self- 
caused. By means of it an object unfolds its nature? 
The process whereby its ideal nature is realised is what 
we meanjby activity. But all changers caused, ami, 

from this point of view a activity turns out to be 

passivity. The alteration of a thing is due to the 
influence exerted upon it by another which is active. 
What actively changes suffers change. And the thing 
which causes change is itself passive, because in exert- 
ing its influence it is dependent on the nature of that 
which it influences. One thing by itself cannot be 
active, but if, in its activity, it has to depend on 
another, it is not active but passive. 

The upshot of all these considerations is that not 
much of what is called a thing is left. If substantive 
and adjective, quality and relation^ the forms of time 
atKJjpace, causation and activity an^jonejand all, riddled 
with contradictions^ what remains of a thing? It is 
palpably " undermined and mined." A thing, in order 
to exist, must have identity, and identity " seems a 
possession with a character at least doubtful." It must 
be one of content which is ideal, because it goes beyond 
what it is at any particular moment, but in what 
precisely it consists we are unable to say. The iden- 
tity of a thing, in short, lies just in the view one 
happens to take of it, and things, therefore, are only 

After thus showing that things go to pieces under 


analysis, Bradley proceeds to inquire whether the self 
can be regarded as real. He^ distinguishes the various 
meanings of the self, and argues Aat_jion^qf them 
is defensible. By a man's self we may mean" the 
present contents of his experience, comprising his 
thought of himself and of other things and persons, 
the mass of his feelings, etc. But the self goes beyond 
any particular moment and the contents of experience 
ire variable. To meet this difficulty it may be said that 
the self consists of the average contents of experience 
that remain constant in the midst ..of changes. It is 
not easy, however, to discover any such average. In 
the lifetime of a man there take place fundamental 
:hanges, and " the usual self of one period is not the 
usual self of another, and it is impossible to unite in 
Dne mass these conflicting psychical contents." This 
may lead one to say that the real essence of the self 
is to be found in an inner unanalysable core of feeling. 
But how is this inner nucleus to be separated from the 
ordinary matter of experience ? Where is the essential 
self to end and the accidental self to begin? "This 
narrow persistent element of feeling or idea, this fixed 
essence not ' servile to all the skyey influences,' this 
wretched fraction and poor atom, too mean to be in 
danger do you mean to tell me that this bare remnant 
is really the~self?" (Appearance and Reality, p. 81). 

If, in order to surmount these difficulties, it is main- 
taincdjthatjhe self consists in .BgrgonaHdentity, BraHIey 
points out that it implies both continuity and quali- 
tative sameness. But who shall say how much of these 
is~wanted and in what precise relation they stand to 
each other ? What is to be the criterion of continuity ? 
Memory cannot be the criterion. Its limits and defects 
are well known, and it is dependent on reproduction 

F. H. BRADLEY 223 

from a present basis of self -feeling liable to funda- 
mental alterations. Altogether, personal identity based 
on memory is a very uncertain thing ancj is largely a 

After dealing with the conceptions of the self as a 
monad and as " the matter in which I take personal 
interest, 5 ' Bradley approaches the consideration of " a 
most important way of understanding the self," viz. the 
distinction of subject and object. Both of these, he 
argues, are developed out of a " whole of feeling given 
without relation." They are special groups of psychical 
content formed within a total mass of experience. 
There is no psychical content which is not capable of 
taking the form of an object by being set over against 
ourselves. Whatever is detached from the felt back- 
ground and brought before our view is an object, and, 
in principle, there is no limit to this process. Similarly, 
there is nothing in not-self which belongs exclusively 
to it. Whatever is not definitely before me at any 
one moment, the contents of the mind which have 
sunk below the threshold of consciousness, must be 
regarded as having passed into the self. The self, 
that is, consists of the whole mass of feeling except 
what is loosened from it and opposed to it. The 
contents of the self and not- self, therefore, are not 
fixed. " The main bulk of the elements on each side 
is interchangeable." 

The question whether the self in any of its meanings 
is real, is answered by Bradley in the negative. That 
it is a fact is, of course, not to be doubted, but it is 
impossibly to regard it as ultimately real. " In what- 
ever way the self is taken, it will prove to be appear- 
ance. It cannot, if finite, maintain itself against 
external relations. For these will enter its essence, 


and so ruin its independency. And, apart from this 
objection in the case of its finitude, the self is in 
any case unintelligible. For, in considering it, we are 
forced to transcend mere feeling, itself not satisfactory; 
and yet we cannot reach any defensible thought, any 
intellectual principle, by which it is possible to under- 
stand how diversity can be comprehended in unity. 
But, if we cannot understand this, and if whatever 
way we have of thinking about the self proves full 
of inconsistency, we should then accept what must 
follow. The self is no doubt the highest form of 
experience which we have, but for all that is not a 
true form. It does not give us the facts as they are 
in reality; and, as it gives them, they are appearance, 
appearance and error " (Appearance and Reality , p. 

The failure of the attempts to reduce the multi- 
farious facts of the world to unity may result in doubt 
about the wisdom of making any such attempt at all. 
Why should we not be satisfied with mere phenomena 
and their laws, than which, for the purposes of science, 
nothing more is necessary? This is the position of 
phenomenalism. There exist, however, ways of think- 
ing which seek to unify things. They may be illusory, 
but, nevertheless, they are facts, and phenomenalism 
has got to explain how, consistently with its principles, 
they can be facts. As to its positive teaching, one 
must ask how phenomena and their laws are possible. 
Different facts, in order to be related, must be together, 
but " what is the meaning of ( together 5 when once 
distinctions have been separated ? " We find ourselves 
confronted with the insoluble problem of things and 
their relations. Are past and future to which the 
present is related real? If so, how can that which 

F. H. BRADLEY 225 

is not presented be real? If not, how can the real 
present be related to what is unreal? Then, again, 
what is identity? This phenomenalism should deny; 
but undeniably changes occur, and if there is change, 
there must be something which changes. If it is said 
that nothing is permanent except the laws which pheno- 
mena illustrate, the question arises whether these laws 
are to be regarded as the unchangeable essences mani- 
fested in their fleeting appearances. If so, how are the 
essences related to one another and to the phenomena ? 
In recognising their existence, has not phenomenalism 
" adored blindly what it rejected " ? On the other hand, 
if the laws in themselves are only possibilities and 
become real in presentation alone, what we have to 
ask is, " What is either side, the elements or the laws, 
but an unreal and quite indefensible thought ? " The 
dilemma to which phenomenalism is finally reduced is 
this : " It must either keep to the moment's presenta- 
tion, and must leave there the presented entirely as it 
is given and, if so, then surely there could be no 
more science; or it must 'become transcendent 5 (as 
the phrase goes), and launch out into a sea of more 
preposterous inconsistencies than are perhaps to be 
found in any other attempt at metaphysics. As a 
working point of view, directed and confined to the 
ascertainment of some special branch of truth, pheno- 
menalism is of course useful and is indeed quite 
necessary. And the metaphysician who attacks it when 
following its own business is likely to fare badly. But 
when phenomenalism loses its head and, becoming 
blatant, steps forward as a theory of first principles, 
then ^t is really not respectable. The best that can 
be said of its pretensions is that they are ridiculous" 
(Appearance and Reality, pp. 125-26). 

H.N.-H. P 


Failing to find reality in the various orders of 
phenomena, we may imagine that it belongs to another 
world superior to ours. This splitting-up of the uni- 
verse into two regions, however, does not in any way 
lessen our difficulties. What is maintained is not that 
our knowledge of reality is imperfect, but that we have 
no idea of it whatever. But if the real is absolutely 
unknowable, how can its existence even be affirmed ? 
Are the real things one or many? If many, how do 
they form one world? If the plural is dropped, the 
question of the relation of the thing-in-itself to the 
appearances arises. To say that there is a connection 
between them is to make the appearances the adjectives 
of reality, and the thing therefore is no longer some- 
thing by itself. On the other hand, if it is out of 
relation to the appearances, it either has or has not 
qualities. To suppose that it possesses qualities is to 
have once more on our hand the problem about sub- 
stantive and adjective. And to say that it is without 
qualities is to reduce it to pure being, which is simply 
nothing. The separation of the world into two hemi- 
spheres, we thus see, only doubles our difficulties. We 
gain nothing by this device. The thing-in-itself is a 
" wretched abstraction, worthless and devoid of all 
interest." What has human value is, after all, the 
appearances; and to turn away from them and to say 
that " this purely irrelevant ghost is the ark of salva- 
tion " is ridiculous. The truly real is not incapable of 
appearing. All appearances belong to it and contribute 
to make it what it is. 

Passing on to the consideration of the nature of 
reality, Bradley begins by pointing out that what is 
rejected as appearance is not mere non-entity. It forms 
a constituent element of the real. "The character of 

F. H. BRADLEY 227 

the real is to posse^ eyeij^^ a 

harmonious form.," It is_a self- consistent whole and 
excludes contradiction. What^ 

cannbt .belceal. This is the absolute criterion, and it 
is by means of it that we are enabled to distinguish 
reality from appearance. The attempt to deny the 
validity of this criterion involves the use of it. Now 
if the real is self- consistent and if all appearances 
belong to it, we get the result that the Absolute 
<f embraces all differences in an inclusive harmony." 
Further, rf)_real_must J)e j?H* A plurality of reals 
is impossible, for, in order to be plural, the reals must 
co-exist, and co-existence is incompatible with inde- 
pendence. Togetherness implies relations, and "rela- 
tions are unmeaning except within and on the basis 
of a substantial whole." The universe is onejiol by 
excluding differences but in the. sense that "its differ- 
ences ex^t harmon^^^ .one whole*, beyond. 

j^ch^thgl^i^---^ n th i ng. " The Absolute, that is, is 
"jjji, individual and system." ~~ 

But, it may be asked, what is the concrete nature 
of this system? What is the matter that makes it 
up? Experience, answers Bradley. " Sentient experi- 


;Q r calityj * n ^ ^af iff not this i> noting." What 
does not fall within experience, what is not known, 
perceived or felt is in no sense real. " Find any piece 
of existence, take up any thing that anyone could 
possibly call a fact, or could in any sense assert to 
have being, and then judge if it does not consist 
in sentient experience " (Appearance and Reality, p. 
145). The Absolute is a single, all-inclusive and har- 
monious whole of experience within which all distinc- 
tions, including the distinction of subject and object, 
fall. Inside 5t facts are in perfect accord with each 


other and with the ideas which they embody. And 
if the transcendence of discords of every kind means 
pleasure and if pain produces disquietude and unrest, 
we are led to the conclusion that in the Absolute there 
is a balance of pleasure over pain. 

It is true that our knowledge of the Absolute is 
incomplete. But what knowledge we have of it is 
positive. No finite being, without ceasing to be finite, 
can have a knowledge of the details of the Absolute 
life. But this does not imply that we cannot form a 
general idea of its main characteristics. Immediate 
presentation or feeling, which is a whole of differences 
not yet parted by relations, suggests an all-embracing 
experience of a higher kind at a level above that of 
relational thought "where will and thought and feel- 
ing may all once more be one. 55 The same thing is 
suggested by our ideas of goodness and of the beauti- 
ful, which " involve the experience of a whole beyond 
relations though full of diversity. 55 From these sources 
" we can form the general idea of an absolute experi- 
ence in which phenomenal distinctions are merged, a 
whole become immediate at a higher stage without 
losing any richness. 55 

The Absolute is not mere thought^ It is more than 
thought, which is only one of its elements. Thought 
is relational and discursive, and, as judgment, involves 
the distinction of subject and predicate, a what and 
a that. The predicate is never a mere quality or a 
mental image, but an ideal content, which, while be- 
longing to a subject, is not limited to it but goes beyond 
it. jjjcts and ideas are not two different thingsexter- 
nally hrrmght t^ftrr They imply each other~ana 
have no meaning apart from their connection. Facts 
which are not ideal, whose content is not loosened from 

F. H. BRADLEY 229 

existence, are simply nothing. On the other hand, ideas 
do not float but always attach themselves to definite 
objects. For thought, however, facts and ideas are 
never in perfect accord with each other, and it is unable 
to heal the division of existence and content. It aims 
at a harmonious whole of experience which it is unable 
to reach. What it wants is an ultimate unity embracing 
all things, but what it gets is only a maze of relations. 
If thought succeeded in overcoming the dualism on 
which it is based and in attaining its goal, it would 
cease to be thought and would become absorbed in a 
richer experience containing thought, feeling and will 
as its constituent elements. Such an experience " would 
possess in a superior form that immediacy which we 
find in feeling, and in [it] all divisions would be healed 
up. It would be experience entire containing all ele- 
ments in harmony. Thought would be present as a 
higher intuition; will would be there where the ideal 
had become reality; and beauty and pleasure and feeling 
would live on in this total fulfilment. Every flame 
of passion, chaste or carnal, would still burn in the 
Absolute unquenched and unabridged, a note absorbed 
in the harmony of its higher bliss " (Appearance and 
Reality ', p. 172). 

After setting forth the general nature of reality, 
Bradley proceeds to defend his conclusions against 
various objections, jiow can things like error and 

evil, time and space, wjiose^eYigfrgnre ran nn t KP 'H niihts^ 

rtjnayT)e aslcecT 5e compatible with the Absolute ? The 
question assumes that we must either explain things 
or explain them away. Such an alternative, however, 
does not exhaust all possibilities. Our failure to explain 
particular facts only proves our ignorance. It cannot 
invalidate a theory adopted on general philosophical 


grounds. What seems to be self -contradictory to us 
on account of our limited knowledge may, as supple- 
mented by facts beyond our ken, not only be consistent 
with but actually contribute to the harmony of the 
whole. JError, for example, is incompatible with reality, 
and yet; as something existing, inrnust somehow beKng 
to rilil. Its^essence is the attribution of an incon- 
sistent content tcTa subject"'^ 16 qualification of "a~lMng 
by^jwhat_is self- di screpan t. The way to obviate ~"fKe 
difficulty caused by it is to perceive that it is not 
absolute untruth but partial truth transformed into full 
truth when it is supplemented. We do not know in 
detail how such transformation actually takes place, but 
" it is possible for errors to correct themselves, and, as 
such, to disappear in a higher experience. But if so, 
we must affirm that they are thus absorbed and made 
good. J?or what is possible and what a general prin- 
ciple compels us to say must be f that certainly is " 
(Appearance and Reality, p. 196). 

Evil is to be dealt with on the same principle. It 
has several forms, viz. pain, failure to realise ends, 
and immorality. That pain exists and is an evil no one 
can doubt. But m the Absolute, it may be taken up" 
intojajarger composite pleasure. It is reasonable to 
believe that the perfection of the Absolute implies the 
neutralisation of pain in a higher experience which, on 
the whole, is pleasurable. Similarly, the failure to realise 
particular ends may only mean that, within the limits 
of our narrow experience, idea and existence fail to come 
together, but that the frustration of the ends chosen by 
us contribute to the realisation of a wider purpose in 
which they are all included. As regards moral evil, 
there is something additional in it. It implies not 
merely a discrepancy between the ideal and the real, but 

F. H. BRADLEY 231 

a strife between the good will and the evil will. But in 
the Absolute it may be overruled and turned into the 
means of furthering a higher good. " Heaven's design, 
if we may speak so, can realise itself as effectively in 
c Catiline or Borgia ' as in the scrupulous or innocent." 
We do not know how all these partial phenomena 
are harmonised and reduced to unity in the Abso- 
lute, but we may be sure that the content of not 
one is lost. "The Absolute is the richer for every 
discord, and for all diversity which it embraces; 
and it is our ignorance only in which consists the 
poverty of our object " (Appearance and Reality , p. 

Tinie_and space, we have., already seen, are _ only 
appearance, but, nevertheless, they exist and must {hgrg- 
fore belong somehow to the Absolute, though we cannot 
say__ho3* It is possible for these appearances to be 
merged into a harmonious whole which contains and 
transcends them. If time as such were real, the Absolute 
of course would not be possible. But as it contradicts 
itself and points to something higher into which it is 
taken up, it is mere appearance and not reality. "Tire 
Absolute is timeless, but it possesses time as an isolated 
aspect, an aspect which, in ceasing to be isolated, loses 
its special character^ It is there, but blended into a 
whole which we cannot realise." There is no unity of 
time. Within the Absolute there may be many dif- 
fer<yJlL.timft=^eries bearing no jtemporalj^elation to ..each 
other, although in each series the events must of course 
be relateH^in time. Nor need the direction "oTlBme of 
all the seriesHbe the same. These various time-series, 
however, must all qualify the Absolute. As compre- 
hended within the experience of the Absolute, they 
counterbalance one another and their natures are altered. 


They are preserved, no doubt, but not in their original 

What is true of time is true also of space. It seeks 
to be a self-contained whole but fails. " Its evident 
inability to rest within itself points to the solution of 
its discords. Space seeks Jojosg itself in a higher per- 
ception, where individuality is gained without forfeit 
of variety." 

The particularity of feeling, " the this and the mine," 
it may be urged, is a serious objection to the indivi- 
duality of the Absolute. What is felt^irnmg^ is 
unique and cannot be resolved into anything else. It 
iSj, on one side^ * the this^^nd^on the o ther^ thejfnine,,' 
B^jtl^e^Absolute.jiJso is pQ^itivjejgxperience at a higher 
leveL_ The felt unity of immediate experience is broken 
up by thought into terms and their relations. These, 
however, are absorbed into the supra-relational totality 
of the Absolute experience. The felt existence of a 
sensible whole is not incompatible with the Absolute, 
forjgf the Absolute also the sense of immediate reality 
is a necessary feature. It is true that there is a plurality 
of particular presentations, but they are all embraced 
and absorbed in the Absolute. " The universe is richer, 
we may be sure, for all dividedness and variety." Our 
want of knowledge of how this happens is no argument 
against its possibility. " That partial experiences should 
run together, and should unite their deliverances to 
produce one richer whole is there anything here in- 
credible ? " The c this ' no doubt has a negative aspect. 
It implies the c that * from which it is distinguished. 
Particular facts of experience are always exclusive of 
each other. But negative relations "exist within and 
by virtue of an embracing unity," and apart from it 
neither they nor their terms would be possible. There 

F. H. BRADLEY 233 

can be no such thing as an absolutely exclusive single- 
ness. Every feature of a given something is a universal, 
a what that brings it into relations with other things 
all of which it qualifies. Although the content of what 
is immediately given is inexhaustible, there is nothing 
in it that does not yield to analysis. On the other 
hand, it is individual and not a mere congeries of 
universals. But its genuine individuality is the indi- 
viduality of the whole into which it is taken up. 
Particular facts of experience do not remain self- 
centred and apart. They all blend with each other 
and are merged in the experience of the one ultimate 

But have we any reason to believe in the existence 
of anything other than our private selves? Is it not 
true that I cannot go beyond my experience and that 
whatever exists must therefore be states of my self? 
The answer is that in direct experience the self alone 
is never presented. In the original mode of feeling 
out of which knowledge is developed, there is no dis- 
tinction of self and not- self at all. And when that 
distinction comes to be made, the subject and object 
appear in correlation. The mere self is never an object 
of experience, and if this is admitted the foundation 
of solipsism is destroyed. We cannot remain confined 
within the limits of direct experience. What is imme- 
diately given must be transcended. It always points 
to things lying beyond its limits. " The whole move- 
ment of the mind implies disengagement from the mere 
this; and to assert the content of the latter as reality 
at once involves us in contradiction." A particular fact 
of experience is real because of its inclusion in a larger 
whole. There is nothing which is not felt, but " the 
Reality to which all content in the end must belong is 


a direct all-embracing experience." What I experience 
now cannot stand out against inclusion in a fuller 
totality. " My c mine J becomes a feature in the great 
c mine * which includes all mines." If the argument of 
solipsism were sound, I should be unable to go beyond 
my present self to my past self. But I do thus trans- 
cend myself, and the process which takes me over to 
my past and future selves is in principle the same as 
that which connects me with other selves and with the 
universe at large. It is true that the world must appear 
in my experience and that through it alone I can be 
in contact with reality, but to say this is not to say that 
there is nothing except the states of my private self. 
Because experience is mine, it does not follow that what 
I experience is only my state. The error of solipsism 
is that " my private self is first set up as a substantive 
which is real independent of the Whole; and then its 
palpable community with the universe, which in ex- 
perience is forced on us, is degraded into the adjective 
of our miserable abstraction " (Appearance and Reality , 
p. 259). 

The section of reality which appears to finite minds 
gfe a system of related phenomena is nature. It is not 
something independent but only an element in one all- 
gmbracmg experience But, as presented to us, it con- 
sists of qualities and relations, each conditioning and 
at the same time presupposing the other, and is there- 
fore a self -contradictory appearance. Apart from the 
perception of finite beings it has no existence. What 
lies beyond finite centres is, properly speaking, not 
nature at all. It is for us the object of mere thought, 
but for the Absolute it is more. " There somehow, we 
do not know how, what we think is perceived. Every- 
thing there is merged and reabsorbed in an experience 

F. H. BRADLEY 235 

intuitive, at once and in itself, of both ideas and facts." 
The position of physical science is not in the least 
affected by such a view. Its object is not to ascertain 
ultimate truth but merely to understand the co-existence 
and sequence of phenomena. For this purpose it makes 
the legitimate abstraction of regarding the physical 
world as real by itself and uses certain working ideas 
to explain the occurrence of various events. Trouble 
arises only when science forgets its limits and puts 
forward its ways of conceiving particular aspects of the 
universe as first principles, or when metaphysics attempts 
to interfere with the busine^ *> science. From the 
ultimate point of view " natuK by itself has no reality. 
It exists only as a form of appearance within the Abso- 
lute." The fact that nature as something given must 
be finite and yet as finite must pass indefinitely beyond 
itself points to a whole of which it is a subordinate 
element. In this whole, time, space and all other limited 
modes of being are supplemented and corrected. We 
have no reason to think that there is only one system 
of nature. " When we reflect we see clearly that a 
variety of physical arrangements may exist without any- 
thing like spatial inter-relation. They will have their 
unity in the Whole, but no connections in space each 
outside its own proper system of matter " (Appearance 
and Reality, p. 288). 

Bradley discusses at considerable length the nature 
of the connection between body and soul. Both, he 
maintains, are mere appearances, and hence their mutual 
relation is unintelligible. Without knowing Tiow they 
comj together in the Absolute, a perfect comprehension 
of the relation between them is not possible. A body 
is a part of nature, and nature is only an aspect of the 
total reality set apart by abstraction. And the soul " is 


a finite centre of immediate experience, possessed of a 
certain temporal continuity of existence, and again of 
a certain identity in character." It is not the mere 
psychical content of a particular moment. That con- 
tent refers itself to what is beyond it through a separa- 
tion between its existence and meaning. It is bound 
up with an experience which ideally seeks to expand 
into the whole universe, and yet is gathered up into a 
personal centre. A soul is thus a self- inconsistent con- 
struction, a half-way house between the immediacy of 
feeling and the Absolute experience. It belongs to 
"a field of struggle iruuMich content is divorced from 
and strives once more U. t : ards unity with being." This 
phenomenal view of the soul does not mean that it is 
an adjective dependent on the body, for the body also 
is phenomenal. Nor is the discontinuity of the soul, 
its temporary cessation and reappearance as in sleep, an 
argument against its identity. The ultimate reality of 
course cannot be in time, but the soul is not the ulti- 
mate reality. The notion that unbroken continuity is 
essential to its existence as an identical thing is a mere 
prejudice. We do not gain anything by supposing that 
the psychical series implies a transcendent ego as that 
which gives unity to it. Such an ego is one finite 
related to other finites, and its unity is not reconcilable 
with the plurality of the series of events. It is true 
that the soul does not consist of mere psychical facts. 
These facts are always more than themselves. They 
imply a universal element, an ideality that goes beyond 
them without losing its hold on them. The ideal and 
the real are inseparable aspects of the concrete whole 
of mind. By imagining that the ego stands above 
phenomena, we merely place it alongside of them and 
thus reduce it to a phenomenon. The ego is nothing 

F. H. BRADLEY 237 

without its content. At the same time, it is not the 
mere content but its ideality also. 

The relation between soul and body is a relation 
between phenomena only Bradley rejects the view that 
they are two concomitant aspects of the same thing on 
the ground that it necessitates the separation of each 
soul with its body from the rest of the world and the 
recognition of a plurality of finite souls within the 
Absolute. The appearance certainly is that between 
the physical and the psychical there is a causal connec- 
tion which is not one-sided. Neither is the idle adjec- 
tive of the other. The natural view that body and soul 
influence each other remains, Bradley thinks, proof 
against attack. But^ he is careful to point out that body 
k_Z_ itself never actg on the sou) by itself and vice versa, 
There J_s_no ..such jhing..a^.bQdy-4^LJLl.o^9ul^j^^. 
Every event has two sides, the psychical and the phy- 
sical, and in all changes of mind and body, the cause*, 
as well as effects are psycho-physical, though for prac- 
tical purposes we are often forced to attend to only one 
of these sides. This, however, is only a statement of 
facts and not an explanation of them. In the end, we 
do not know how the psychical series and the physical 
series are connected with each other. Body and soul 
are not realities but appearances abstracted from the 
whole. " To comprehend them while each is fixed in its 
own untrue character is utterly impossible. But, if so, 
their way of connection must remain unintelligible." 
In the Absolute they come together, and in being 
merged in what transcends them their special characters 
are lost. 

Bradley concludes his discussion of the relation of 
body and soul with some observations on the com- 
munication between souls and their identity and differ- 


ence.. The immediate experiences of finite minds are 
personal and incapable of being shared. Nevertheless, 
they can communicate with each other through the 
medium of their bodies and their physical environment. 
The possibility of a common understanding implies 
some kind of sameness. The difference, that is, of the 
experiences of finite beings must rest upon an under- 
lying identity. Difference without identity has no 
meaning, and identity not realised in differences is a 
false abstraction. The contents of souls can differ 
because they diverge from the common basis of an all- 
inclusive experience. This ultimate identity, however, 
need not mean any special intimacy between the differ- 
ing souls. In spite of it, these souls appear to influence 
each other not directly but only through their bodies. 

Although body and soul being appearances are both 
untrue, still the latter, as possessing a larger measure 
of self-dependence, is far more real than the former. 
There are degrees of truth and reality, and the soul 
realises individuality at a stage higher than body. 

The idea of degrees of truth and reality, although 
introduced somewhat late in his discussion of first prin- 
ciples, is a vital part of Bradley's thought. The Abso- 
lute, being perfect, has of course no degrees, but its 
appearances are of varying degrees of truth and value 
and are capable of being arranged in an ascending scale 
of worth. The particular aspects of the universe, that 
is, are not all on the same level, but realise in different 
measures the one ultimate principle. Bradley does not 
attempt to show in detail how this is so, but on the 
principle that truth and reality are of different degrees 
he strongly insists. The perfect has the character of 
self-subsistent individuality. It must be all-inclusive 
and all its constituent elements must exhibit the mark 

F. H. BRADLEY 239 

of internal harmony. The finite cannot be a coherent 
whole. What is excluded from it affects it from the 
outside and disturbs its inner harmony. " To be defined 
from without is, in principle, to be distracted within." 
The more comprehensive a thing is, the less self -dis- 
crepant it is. The two aspects of comprehensiveness 
and coherence go together. To be more or less real, 
therefore, is to be separated by a lesser or greater 
interval from a single all-embracing individuality. This 
provides us with the standard by which degrees of truth 
and reality are to be measured. "The truth and the 
fact, which, to be converted into the Absolute, would 
require less rearrangement and addition, is more real 
and truer" (Appearance and Reality , p. 364). To 
remove its defects, we should have to make a compara- 
tively small amount of alteration. But that which is 
low down in the scale of truth and reality would require 
to be considerably supplemented and rearranged before 
it can take its place as an aspect of the real. 

Only such a standard enables us to assign its proper 
place to sense-perception. The view that sense-percep- 
tion by itself is real has its opposite counterpart in the 
view that the world of supersensible thought alone has 
true being. Both are equally one-sided and false. 
Thought and sense each passes into and finds its 
counterpart in the other in the Absolute. Just as mere 
sense is unmeaning, so thought without existence is 
nothing. Existence is not foreign to thought super- 
added to it. " The union in all perception of thought 
with sense, the co-presence everywhere in all appear- 
ances of fact with ideality this is the one foundation 
of tAith." Thought finds its consummation in a whole 
of which sense is a necessary element. The real must 
of course exist, but what merely exists cannot be said 


to have much of reality. That which appears has a 
higher degree of reality than the appearance. The 
phenomena of time and space are the necessary mani- 
festation of the Absolute, but taken apart from the 
Absolute, their reality is of a very low degree. " Com- 
parative ability to exist, individually and as such, within 
the region of sense, is a sign everywhere, so far as it 
goes, of degradation in the scale of being. " 

From the point of view of degrees of truth and 
reality, we are enabled to understand better the position 
of good and evil. The opposition between them is not 
absolute. What is an evil in relation to something 
higher is good in comparison with the lower. How- 
ever much the different grades of goodness may be 
necessary to the Absolute, they are only aspects of it 
and are " overruled and transmuted " in it. Although 
in the various stages and forms of goodness the Abso- 
lute is realised, the good is not the Absolute. It is only 
a subordinate aspect of the whole. Goodness is every- 
where " the adjective of something not itself." Apart 
from the things that are good, it has no meaning. " The 
good is obviously not so wide as the totality of things." 
Moreover, it is not self -consistent, for it " implies a 
distinction of idea from existence, and a division which, 
in the lapse of time, is perpetually healed up and 
remade." Ft demands the removal of the distinction 
between the ideal and the real, and yet, if that dis- 
tinction were removed, its very foundation would be 
destroyed. The two aspects of goodness are self- 
assertion and self-sacrifice. Although in the Absolute 
they come together and are transcended, they have a 
tendency to diverge from each other in our practical 
life. Within no existing social organism is self- 
realisation quite reconciled with self-sacrifice. Each is 

F. H. BRADLEY 241 

inconsistent with itself and with the other. " The indi- 
vidual never can in himself be an harmonious system. 
And in the wider ideal to which he devotes himself, no 
matter how thoroughly, he never can find complete self- 
realisation." Goodness, therefore, is but an appearance. 
It demands something more perfect into which it passes. 
Religion has a higher degree of reality than morality 
and goodness, and in it they end. The goal towards 
which morality moves is attained in religion. For it, 
the world, as the expression of a supreme will, is per- 
fect. Errors and evils of every kind are overruled in it 
and contribute to its perfection. The finite self, as a 
member of the whole and in its consciousness of one- 
ness with God, frees itself from its limitations and 
defects and becomes perfect. But, on the other hand, 
religion is practical, and, therefore, still maintains the 
opposition between what is and what ought to be which 
is necessary for practice. The moral standpoint is 
superseded no doubt, but is yet retained as a subor- 
dinate element. In the eye of religion, the world, as 
God's world, is perfect. Nevertheless, the moral duty 
of the pious man is to make it better, to reform it 
according to the will of God. " The whole is at once 
actually to be good, and, at the same time, is actually 
to make itself good." The religious consciousness 
involves this contradiction, and to resolve it is, within 
the limits of religion, impossible. From another 
point of view also, the same inconsistency is revealed. 
Religion implies a relation between man and God. 
Relation, however, not only unites but also separates. 
Man, as related to God, is set over against Him, and 
yet, Without God, he is nothing. Similarly, as related 
to man, God stands apart from him and is limited by 
him. At the same time " he wills and knows himself 

H.N.-H, 9 


and he finds his reality and self - consciousness in union 
with man." Religion is unable to avoid this contra- 
diction and is, therefore, only an appearance, although 
it is nearer to reality than goodness. The God of 
religion is not the Absolute, for "in the end the 
Absolute is related to nothing, and there cannot be 
a practical relation between it and the finite will. When 
you begin to worship the Absolute or the universe, 
and make it the object of religion, you in that moment 
have transformed it. It has become something forth- 
with which is less than the universe " (Essays on Truth 
and Reality , p. 428). 

The fundamental principle on which Bradley insists 
throughout is that Reality is one and is a single supra- 
relational experience in which all appearances come 
together. The essential characteristic of an appear- 
mce is that in it the two factors of existence and 
:ontent, the c that * and the < what, 5 fall apart. For 
this reason, it is unable to rest in itself and points 
to that which lies beyond it. It depends on the other 
ippearances, just as they depend on it. Within the 
Whole, of which the appearances are essential elements, 
they mutually supplement each other. No appearance 
is lost in the Absolute. Each one is indispensable and 
contributes to the whole. Take away from the Absolute 
any one of its elements and it is at once reduced to 
nothing. None of the fundamental aspects of the 
universe can be resolved into the others, and none is 
useless and insignificant. In relation to the Absolute, 
they are all equally necessary. On the other hand, the 
appearances are of different degrees of truth and reality. 
The Absolute is immanent in each, but not to the* same 
extent. "Everything is essential and yet one thing is 
worthless in comparison with others." Each grade of 

F. H. BRADLEY 243 

being, from its own point of view, has truth. " It 
meets, we may say, its own claims, and it proves false 
only when tried by that which is already beyond it." 
Everywhere in phenomena the Absolute is present and 
they are alike indispensable, but, nevertheless, they, 
as judged by the standard of perfect individuality, are 
capable of being arranged in an ascending order of 
reality and truth. 

The Absolute is not other than its appearances. At 
the same time, it is not to be identified with any 
particular appearance or with any combination of them. 
It is not mere intellect, nor mere will, nor mere feeling. 
It is the unity of which these are but partial aspects 
and in which all things are brought together and trans- 
muted, though not equally. " The Absolute, we may 
say in general, has no assets beyond appearances; and 
again, with appearances alone to its credit the Absolute 
would be bankrupt." It is the whole in which all finite 
phenomena are absorbed, blended and harmonised. 
Nothing is lost in it, and yet nothing is allowed to 
remain precisely as it is in its isolation. The experi- 
ence of which it consists contains nothing but trans- 
muted appearances as its ingredients. All oppositions 
such as truth and error, good and evil, beauty and 
ugliness fall within it and are overruled into harmony. 
These are in the Absolute, but the Absolute itself is 
not co-extensive with any of them. " They imply dis- 
tinctions falling, in each case, within one subject pro- 
vince of the Absolute Kingdom." The all-embracing 
whole cannot be equated with any of its subordinate 

It Follows, therefore, that progress cannot be attri- 
buted to the Absolute. Within the whole, there is, 
of course, progress as well $s retrogression, but the 


universe itself neither grows better nor becomes worse. 
<c The Absolute has no history of its own, though it 
contains histories without number." Embracing move- 
ments and processes of all sorts within it, it itself is 
changeless and perfect. It " has no seasons, but all 
at once bears its leaves, fruits, and blossoms. Like 
our globe it always, and it never, has summer and 

The Absolute is one, and its unity is that of an 
individualised system. Every finite phenomenon is in 
the Absolute and " is still that which it is for itself. 
Its private character remains and is but neutralised 
by complement and addition." But, somewhat incon- 
sistently, Bradley also tells us that the " process of 
correction, and of making good, may in addition totally 
transform and entirely dissipate its nature." However 
various the appearances may be, they are all in the 
end reduced to a complete order and system in the 
whole. An ultimate plurality is meaningless. " Plu- 
rality implies relations, and, through its relations, it 
unwillingly asserts always a superior unity." On the 
basis of an underlying unity alone can differing things 
be mutually related. The unity of the Absolute is 
not the unity that is set over against plurality. It is 
the higher^ unity of which the one and the many are 
correlated aspects. If it is asked, of what it is the 
unity, the answer must be, of experience. "We can 
discover nothing that is not either feeling or thought 
or will or emotion or something else of the kind." 
Whatever is affirmed to be a fact must be some mode 
of experience. There can be no absolute other of 
experience, " Show me your idea of an other, not a 
part of experience, and I will show you at once that 
it is, throughout and wholly, nothing else at all." 

F. H. BRADLEY 245 

Within an all-containing experience, one part of it 
may be distinguished from another, but there is 
nothing falling outside it from which it itself can be 

Bradley raises the interesting question whether in 
the Absolute there is anything not contained in finite 
centres of experience. On the whole, he is inclined 
to the view thaTlEe Absolute is the unity of many 
different centres of experience, although he does not 
deny that there may be things experienced in the whole 
but not in any subordinate centre. Only one thing 
is certain. There cannot be any absolutely unexperi- 
enced element. The Absolute may be the supreme 
unity of subordinate centres of experience, But ft 
cannot be described as consisting of souls,. A centre 
of experience is not to be confused with a soul or 
self. The distinction between self and not-self arises 
within a centre of experience and is " the creature of 
an intellectual construction." The Absolute, therefore, 
cannot be composed of souls. Nor can we say that 
it is made up of finite centres. Such an expression 
suggests that they are preserved in the Absolute. " But 
not like this is the final destiny and last truth of things. 
We have a rearrangement not merely of things but 
of their internal elements. We have an all-pervasive 
transfusion with a reblending of all material." 

Is the Absolute personal ? Bradley's answer is that 
jt is not^ personal as we are personal. Tt^SFsonTTs 
finite and, as such, is distinguished from other persons. 
In such a way the Absolute cannot be personal. But 3 
on the other hand, it is not less than personal. The; 
errot of calling it impersonal is far more serious than 
that of attributing personality to it. But there is re: 
reason why either mistake should be committed. " The 


Absolute stands above and Hot bfelow its distinctions." 
It is more aroriate to _ca]LJt 

Only a general knowledge of the nature of the 
Absolute is possible for us. We cannot, if we think 
coherently, avoid the conclusion that in it all appear- 
ances are harmonised into a single system which itself 
is experience. But what we know is very little in 
comparison with our ignorance. What other modes 
of experience there may be besides our own and how 
precisely they come together in the Absolute experi- 
ence, we cannot say. We have, in short, no knowledge 
of the Absolute life as lived by the Absolute itself. 
" We have thus left due space for the exercise of doubt 
and wonder." It is only too obvious that we do not 
know what reality is as an all-embracing system of 
experience. But we do know that it is not concealed 
behind its appearances. Nor is it present in an equal 
degree in all appearances. That reality is wholly im- 
manent in itsjappearances, butjn different degrees, is 
the last word of philosophy. It is " one experience^ 
self -pervading and superior to mere relations. Its 
character is the opposite of that fabled extreme which 
is barely mechanical, and it is, in the end, the sole 
perfect realisation of spirit. We may fairly close this 
work, then^ by insisting that Reality is spiritual. There 
is a great saying of Hegel's, a saying too well known, 
and one which without some explanation I should not 
like to endorse. But I will end with something not 
very different, something perhaps more certainly the 
essential message of Hegel. Outside of spirit there is 
not, and there cannot be, any reality, and, the more that 
anything is spiritual, so much the more is it veritably 
real_" (Appearance and Reality, p. 552). 

Bradley makes no attempt to define his position in 

F. .H. BRADLEY 247 

relation to his contemporary idealists. Throughout his 
writings there is no mention of thinkers like Green 
and Caird, though there are a few expressions which 
it is possible to regard as a fling at Green. The only 
idealist of his own way of thinking who is occasionally 
referred to is Bosanquet. And yet there is no doubt 
that Bradley's conception of the ultimate reality is not 
fundamentally different from that of Green or Caird. 
Agreeing; in principle with Green and Caird, he re- 
interprets the idealistic .doctrine in. his ~ own highly 
onginal fashion. While they build their idealistic 
theory on the foundations of epistemology, he attacks 
the problems of metaphysics more directly. The posi- 
tion of Green and Caird is that there is a spiritual 
principle in knowledge, and inasmuch as reality is 
inseparable from knowledge, it too implies a spiritual 
principle as its presupposition and ground. All that 
is must therefore be viewed as the expression of a 
spiritual, self-conscious being. Bradley, on the other 
hand, puts aside all epistemological considerations and 
deals directly with the Absolute. He does not think 
it necessary to make a wide detour in order to approach 
the Absolute. Green and Caird start from Kant and 
move on, the latter specially, to Hegel. Bradley ignores 
Kant altogether and, in his own independent way, con- 
structs a theory closely resembling HegePs in many 
respects. But, in spite of all difference of outlook and 
method, there is a substantial agreement in principle 
between these thinkers. They are all united in pro- 
claiming the unity and spirituality of the world. In 
Green the emphasis is put upon thought as the con- 
stitutive principle of things. He all along had the 
English empiricist theories, which were dominant in 
his time, in mind in developing his own doctrine, and 


was naturally led to insist, somewhat one-sidedly per- 
haps, that apart from relations which are the work of 
the mind sensations are nothing. From this he has 
seemed to teach that the universe is reducible to a 
system of relations focussed in a universal mind. This, 
however, as has already been argued, is a mistake. 
Nevertheless, as a consequence of Green's teaching, 
there perhaps arose a tendency to reduce everything to 
abstract thought, to identify reality with " an unearthly 
ballet of bloodless categories." Against this tendency 
Bradley enters an emphatic protest and maintains that 
the Absolute is experience. In doing so he, on his 
part, tends to pass to the opposite extreme and at times 
speaks as if experience were the same thing as mere 
sentient experience. "I urge that reality is sentient 
"Tobe reaiT' to beTnHrssolubl one 

All this is no doubt only verbal 
inexactitude, but still a tendency to lay undue stress 
on feeling is discernible in Bradley. On the whole, 
however, he cannot be accused of reducing reality to 
the level of mere sense, any more than Green can be 
accused of dissolving it into empty thought. The 
correlativity of thought and sense within the unity 
of what is ultimately real is never missed by either 
of these writers* A false appearance of irreconcilable 
difference between them arises from the fact that while 
Green argues that experience is impossibly without 
relations^ Bradley holds that "our experience, where 
relational, is not trufij* Professor Sorley, for example, 
goes so far as to assert that " if his (Bradley's) argument 
about relations is valid, the idealism of Green and 
Caird falls to the ground " (History of English bhilo- 
sophy y p. 292). But Green and Caird never say that 
relations are possible except between the component 

F. H. BRADLEY 249 

elements of the world-system in wjitch a, spiritual unity 
is realised. And Bradley's sole _ggjnt js that relations 
cannot be regarded as ultimately real. He does not 
say that in the Absolute relations cease to be. On the 
contrary, he strongly urges that within the universe a 
plurality of facts is possible only by their being related 
to one another. " Plurality implies relations, and, 
through its relations, it unwillingly asserts a superior 
unity." And plurality, which without relations is im- 
possible, " must fall within, must belong to and must 
qualify the unity." 

Although in his conception of the general nature 
of reality Bradley stands very near to Hegel, there is 
an important difference between the two in respect of 
their method. Indeed, Bradley does not follow any 
definite method at all. " I have," he admits, " really 
observed no rule of progress, except to get forward in 
the best way I can." His dialectic is purely subversive, 
making his transition from appearance to reality forced 
and arbitrary. The appearances are first condemned 
one by one as self- contradictory, and are then suddenly 
declared to be reduced to system and harmony in the 
Absolute. The difficulty is to understand how it is 
at all possible to step out of the region of phenomena 
into the Absolute. Bradley's Absolute has certainly 
the appearance of being "shot out of ..aj3Jstpl," The 
only answer he can give to the question why must we 
believe in its existence, is that appearances, although 
self- discrepant, are not unreal and must have a place 
ii? which to live. What can that place be except the 
Absolute? If appearances are self -contradictory, reality, 
to' which they belong, must necessarily be a self- con- 
sistent system, for they are found wanting only when 
they are judged by an absolute criterion of self- con- 


sistency. Surely this sort of reasoning is somewhat 
unconvincing. To demolish all phenomena indistrimi- 
nately and equally and then to revivify them at a 
stroke in the Absolute, albeit in a changed form, is a 
procedure scarcely intelligible, and looks like a miracle. 
It is true that Bradley's method wears a somewhat 
different aspect in the light of what is said in the 
chapter on "Degrees of Truth and Reality," but the 
teaching of that chapter is not brought into accord 
with that of his First Book, and has the appearance 
of being an afterthought. No attempt is made to 
determine the place of each aspect of reality in an 
articulated system. Hegel's dialectical method is of 
a different character. He, like Bradley, shows that the 
finite forms of thought are riddled with contradictions, 
but he does not simply set them aside. He points out 
how each category is taken up into and amended in 
a higher category, which, in its turn, is found to be 
self- inconsistent and to require a still higher one into 
which it enters as a subordinate element. Destructive 
criticism is throughout combined with constructive 
work. In this way he passes step by step from the 
lowest category to the highest, and shows that the 
various phases of reality form a graded system. A 
ladder is let down by using which we are enabled to 
rise from the level of finite phenomena to the height 
of the infinite and perfect. The conception of the 
Absolute is shown to be the necessary outcome of 
reflection on experience. Bradley is fully aware of the 
advantages of such a method. The most adequate 
defence of the view of reality he holds, he tells us, 
"would be a systematic account of all the regions bf 
appearance, for it is only the completed system which 
in metaphysics is the genuine proof of the principle." 

F. H. BRADLEY 251 

"Erom the space and atoms of matter to the highest 
life of the self-conscious self , we can perceive a scale 
of individuality and self- con tainedness." It is much 
to be regretted that Bradley did not act up to this 
conviction, and was content to get forward in the 
best way he could find. The result is that he neglects 
the pathway along which alone a safe and methodical 
advance towards the Absolute is possible. The abrupt 
transition from appearance to reality takes one's breath 
away, and savours too much of the incomprehensible 
process by which the mystic is transported beyond the 
region of ordinary experience. 

Bradley's difference from other idealistic writers of 
his time comes out most in his treatment of the idea 
of the self. He, as we have seen, sets down the self 
also as an appearance, although it is admitted that it 
is " the highest form of experience which we have." 
It is in the self, however, that we have the only 
unmetaphorical instance of the harmony of one and 
many which, in Bradley's view, is the character of the 
real. We find here the absolute criterion of self- con- 
sistency. As Edward Caird has pointed out, self- con- 
sistency, rightly understood, means consistency with the 
self. The unity of the self is the only unity we know 
which realises itself in its own differences. From it 
we derive the idea of a harmonious system. To put 
it aside as mere appearance is to make the idea of 
one-in-many unintelligible. Everywhere in his book 
Bradley insists that the real is a single, coherent system. 
He constantly reminds us that all differences are finally 
reduced to the unity of the universe. But failing to 
perceive that the self is the supreme form of reality, 
and that in it alone one and many genuinely come 
together, he is forced to say that we cannot understand 


how in the Absolute unity is reconciled with manyness. 
The way out of the difficulty is to realise that the most 
concrete case of unity in difference is the self, and it 
is from the self that the criterion of a self- consistent 
system is really obtained. 

Bradley's difficulty about the self is due to his iden- 
tification of it with its content. By the self he under- 
stands the total mass of experience, as distinguished 
from any particular element within it marked off from 
the rest and specially noticed. But surely it is not this 
that Bradley's contemporary idealists mean by the self 
when they conceive of it as the constitutive principle 
of the world. The self, as they interpret it, is the 
form of unity of experience and not merely the totality 
of its content. It is the ideal principle presupposed 
in the distincton between things and the mind that 
knows them, the intelligence apart from which the 
intelligible world has no existence. Curiously enough, 
this is not one of the meanings of the self distinguished 
by Bradley. Why he should have ignored the meaning 
it has in the writings of his fellow idealists, he does 
not explain. Of course, the self is not the ultimate 
reality if we understand by it only the focal unity to 
which experience is referred. But why should it not 
mean something more comprehensive, viz. the spiritual 
principle of unity of all things? The self in us is, 
of course, not such a unity, but it gives us the hint 
of it and is its limited expression. In principle there 
is no difference between it and the ideal self. At a 
higher level and in a more perfect form, the ideal self 
is what in a lesser degree our own self is. It is the 
spirit which is subject and object in one. So under- 
stood, the self is not an appearance. It is, on the 
contrary, the final form of reality. 

F. H. BRADLEY 253 

" Everything," says Hegel, "depends on grasping 
and expressing the ultimate truth not as substance but 
as subject as well." Bjgdley, 


eive of reality as substance, but neither does he think 
?LJl^^ subject. __ In the concluding lines of his book, 
however, reality is described as "^he sole perfect realis; 
ation of spirit." " Outside of spirit there is not, and 
There cannot be, any reality, and the more anything is 
spiritual so much the more is it veritably real." But 
what is the difference between spirit and the self that 
is realised in its own object? Bradley seems to admit 
in one form of expression what is denied in another. 
If the real is spiritual, is it worth while to deny that 
it is thought or self? These terms, no doubt, have 
misleading associations, but whatever term we may use 
will be open to objection on this ground. If it is 
wrong to characterise the Absolute as thought because 
thought is relational and loosens the 'what' from the 
1 that,' it is equally wrong to call it experience, because 
4 experience ' is too apt to mean sensitive experience 
from which relations are altogether excluded. To 
quarrel with the definition of the Absolute as thought 
and to call it experience is only to substitute one 
inadequate way of conceiving it for another. The 
essential thing is to remember that the Absolute is a 
spiritual being self- distinguished into self and not-self, 
the categories of thought centred in the unity of con- 
sciousness and the particular facts of experience giving 
expression to them. In disparaging thought, Bradley 
forgets that idealistic writers mean by it not the ana- 
lytical understanding merely but also the synthetic 
reason. Thought is able to perceive its own defects 
as relational and discursive because it is more than 
this and unites things quite as much as it divides them. 


Nor is it only an aspect of reality on a par with will 
and feeling. If it is distinguished from feeling and 
will, it also overlaps the distinction and is able to view 
the various elements of reality from the standpoint 
of the whole. It is, therefore, the whole and not 
an element of it merely. Of course, our thought 
is not the Absolute, but the Absolute thought is 
the completion of our thought. In being consum- 
mated in the Absolute, thought does not perish but 
is perfected. 

The result of placing the self under the ban is that 
Bradley is precluded from saying anything definite 
about the Absolute except that it is a single, harmo- 
nious and all-embracing system of experience superior 
to mere relations. To form an idea of it we have 
to fall back upon the immediacy of undifferentiated 
feeling. But immediate experience is only a limiting 
conception. We are seldom able actually to have it. 
As Bradley himself says, " we hardly possess it as more 
than that which we are in the act of losing." Having 
outgrown this phase of experience, we can no more 
revert to it than can one who has acquired the know- 
ledge of good and evil regain innocence. The attempt 
to comprehend the nature of the Absolute experience 
with the aid of it is therefore hopeless. The unity 
of the self implied in the duality of subject and object 
is the only key to reality, and Bradley wantonly throws 
it away. If it does not enable us to understand what 
reality is, nothing else will. Behind us is the mass of 
undifferentiated feeling from which we have moved on. 
In front of us is the ideal of completed knowledge 
towards which we progress. But if, in the meanwhile, 
the solid ground on which we stand is undermined, 
the starting-point as well as the goal lose all their 

F. H. BRADLEY 255 

significance. To impugn the self is to cast away the 
only image of reality which we possess. 

In insisting upon the difference between the Absolute 
and human experience, Bradley has helped to remove 
a weak point of Hegelianism. In reaction against 
dualism and transcendentalism Hegel was led to a 
theory of immanence of an extreme type. From the 
truth that it is the very nature of God to reveal Him- 
self, he passes to the erroneous conclusion that He is 
fully and exhaustively revealed in the world as known 
to us. But to deny that God is a transcendent being 
is not to affirm that He is immanent only in nature. 
It is absurd to suppose that in the limited sphere of 
the material universe and in the history of mankind 
the whole nature of God is expressed. Bradley has 
no such illusion. He is most insistent in urging that 
our experience forms only an insignificant part of the 
Absolute experience and that in it the contents of our 
knowledge are supplemented and rearranged. The 
"ragged .edges " of finite phenomena plainly indicate 
that they are a part torn out of their context. Because 
of their fragmentary character the facts of human 
knowledge do not form a completely unified system. 
Without comprehensiveness there can be no coherence. 
The want of harmony of our knowledge arises from 
its incompleteness and points to a richer experience 
into which it is taken up as an element. Bradley 
rightly maintains that in the Absolute there must be 
more than there is or can be in our knowledge. The 
facts presented to us piecemeal are supplemented 
and reduced to a complete harmony and system in 
the -Whole. Bradley often speaks as if in the total 
experience of the Absolute finite phenomena simply 
disappeared. " Suppressed," " dissolved," " lost " are 


some of the alarming terms he employs. But what 
he really means is that in the Absolute appearances 
do not remain exactly as they are for us, but acquire 
a new meaning and value. " They are lost there for 
our vision, but survive most assuredly in that which 
absorbs them." Bradley's insight that the Absolute 
experience is infinitely richer than ours supplies a 
necessary corrective to the tendency to identify the 
Absolute and the finite self too closely. At the same 
time he lays too much stress on their difference. The 
Absolute is immanent in us, and however much its 
experience may differ from ours it is, after all, the full 
development of what we are in germ, " the high water 
mark," as Bosanquet puts it, " of fluctuations in experi- 
ence of which we are daily and normally aware." The 
content of our consciousness is only a very small part 
of the whole, but the Jorm of all reality, self- con- 
sciousness, is in us, whole and undivided. It is by 
virtue of self^coiisciQijsness that we are one with the 



THE philosophy of Bernard Bosanquet has affinity with 
that of Bradley on many important points. He was 
one of the profoundest thinkers of modern times, and 
has made contributions of great value to logic, meta- 
physics, aesthetics and political philosophy. As a logician 
he has few equals. Although not always a very lucid 
writer, he is deep and penetrating, and never fails to 
be suggestive. " He was," wrote the Nation in notic- 
ing his death, " an instance of that rare type where 
all that is best in the man went into his books." " He 
never deserted the ideal of contemplation, and, like 
all men whose heart is in their work, he gave passionate 
devotion to ik" Professor J. A. Leighton " esteems him 
the greatest of English idealists." " So far as I know," 
he writes, " there is not now, nor has been recently, 
anyone on the continent of Europe who quite ranks 
with him" (Philosophical Review, No. 192, p. 626). 
His metaphysical views are set forth in numerous essays, 
addresses and reviews published from time to time 
during the last forty years or so, but the maturest 
expression of them is to be found in the Principle of 
Individuality and Value and the Value and Destiny of 
the Individual. 

H.N.-H. 257 R 



Bosanquet agrees with Bradley in conceiving of 
reality as a single, harmonious and individualised system 
of experience transcending mere relations. Both insist 
that the real is through and through spiritual. But 
while Bradley regards thought as merely analytical 
and discursive, Bosanquet finds in it the concrete and 
synthetic principle presupposed in all forms of experi- 
ence. He also differs from Bradley in regarding the 
immediate not as a clue to reality but rather as its 
first and imperfect form. No rigid distinction, he 
maintains, can be drawn between fe^ng and thought. 

Philosophy, Bosanquet points out, has not to do 
with a universe different from the one with which the 
plain man is concerned. Its subject-matter is the 
totality of experience, experience at the maximum of 
its amplitude and richness. It is opposed to the 
tendency to break up a whole into its component 
elements and to be lost in them. An arduous effort 
is needed if we are not to miss what is central and 
dominant in experience. As the wood may not be 
seen for the trees, so the details of experience may 
blind us to its self- completeness and individuality. 
Stability is nat to be found in the immediate, in the 
limited and mutually exclusive facts of experience, but 
in the whole which sustains them. The Absolute 
reality is in everything, and we know it better than 
anything else. "A sane and central theory is not full 
of oddities and caprices, but is a rendering, in coherent 
thought, of what lies at the heart of actual life and 

The whc>le_pr the Absolutc.dsu.thc. .concrete-universal. 
Our first tendency is to think of the universal as 


standing above the particulars, as a general rule under 
which a number of different cases come. But a uni- 
versal which is reached after leaving out the differences 
of individuals is only an abstraction. In its true nature 
it is what we mean by a world, " a system of members, 
such that every member, being ex hypothesi distinct, 
nevertheless contributes to the unity of the whole in 
virtue of the peculiarities which constitute its distinct- 
ness." The members of a class are of one kind only, 
but " it takes all sorts to make a world." A world 
is a system in which there is sameness in the other, 
sameness not in spite of the other, but by means of 
the other. The movement of thought is always towards 
th-oncrct.e universal. A. self-contained reality is what 
it seeks. It is therefore not true that our thought is 
purely discursive. It, no doubt, "presses beyond the 
given, following the * what 3 beyond the limits of the 
c that. 5 But it is also true that in following the c what ' 
it tends always to return to a fuller c that.' If its 
impulse is away from the given it is towards the whole 
the world " (Principle of Individuality and Value, 
p. 55). An absolutely self-contained experience is, of 
course, beyond the reach of finite thought, and our 
thought therefore must have an aspect of discursive- 
ness, but it is always pressing towards an all-inclusive 
whole. The concrete universal furnishes a clue to the 
true nature of individuality. "As a living world, 
complete and acting out of itself," it is also the genuine 
individual. Th^^ysholt is indwidual because it is the 
" The Jifidiyidual is one in idea 

with the tru^Jnfinjte^ and^is the embodiment of ..... the 
concfetejj.niversal ? which is the universal as assorting 
it^TTTo the full, through ..Jdstttity^pad difference to- 
gether " (Principle of Individuality and Value, p. 72). 


And it is also the spiritual and inward, not, however, 
as excluding the outward but as subordinating and 
absorbing it. What outwardly is^ a system of things 

ea h ^her ' ls > .inwardly, spirit. 

The truly spiritual does not set aside but transfigures 

Uniformity and general law are not opposed to 
individuality. The notion that uniformity excludes 
variability and that the generality of law consists in 
its applicability to a number of similar cases is erro- 
neous. The essence of uniformity is identity in 
(difference. It means not a meaningless repetition of 
resembling things, but the coherence of differences, jji 
a systematic whole. The spirit of this whole is the 
true universal, and it is expressed in a connected 
system of elements, each of which is unique and has 
a distinctive part to play. The, nexus between_t}jse 
elements, none of which is a mere repetition of any 
orner^'is what we mean by law. Intelligence is the 
active form of totality and is realised in the differences 
of things. " The nexus of these differences, in the 
system which is the universal, is a system of laws, each 
of which is general by holding together the diverse 
expression of the one life and spirit " (Principle of 
Individuality and Value > p. 105). General laws and 
the objects to which they apply presuppose an indi- 
vidual system, a whole, of which they are factors. 
The members of such a system alone are held together 
by general laws. They are therefore a necessary side 
of the system, and have no meaning independently of 
the whole. " A whole is a web of laws.," 

The spiritual individual or the universe, Bosanquet 
contends, is inexplicable by means of mechanical prin- 
ciples or the idea of teleology. These set forth certain 


aspects of the whole only and do not express the 
nature of the whole itself. If by teleology we mean 
the adoption of means by a finite being to realise 
particular ends chosen by him, it is easy to see that 
it is a very inadequate basis for a theory of reality. 
The weakness of the teleological theory is that it 
opposes the purposive adaptations of means to ends 
to the mechanical order of things. But no such 
separation between mechanism and teleology is pos- 
sible. We fail to comprehend the nature of the indi- 
vidual and wrongly prefer a particular element of 
experience to the whole. Rightly understood, tele- 
ology develops into the principle of individuality. In 
the broadest sense it means the systematic coherence, 
the mutual implication of the elements of the world- 
system. That system is a totality which, from one 
point of view, is an individual whole and, from another, 
composed of interacting members. Finite conscious- 
ness, therefore, cannot be regarded as the source of 
teleology. It is but "a manifestation, falling within 
wider manifestations, of the immanent individuality of 
the real." In the whole, in which the Absolute mind 
is immanent, finite individuals as well as mechanical 
nature are included. The external is a necessary factor 
in the universe, and finite self-conscious beings are 
members of it. Without them, the universe would 
not be what it is, but, at the same time, they are 
subordinate to it. Their ideals and purposes are only 
a partial revelation of the meaning of things. They 
no more guide the evolution of the world than does 
the coral insect construct the coral reef with conscious 
purpose. " It is impossible to attribute to finite con- 
sciousnesses, as agents, the identity at work within 
finite consciousness as a whole." 


Bosanquet's view of the relation between mind 
and body follows as a necessary consequence from his 
rejection of the dualism of mechanism and teleology. 
As the teleological whole to which mechanism is sub- 
ordinated is not extraneous to the mechanical system, 
but is the revelation of the inner life of that system 
itself, so is the soul not different from the body, merely 
tenanting it, but is the body itself at a higher level 
of its being. It is the ideality of the body, the body 
completely comprehended as an individual whole. The 
relation of mind to body is a typical example of the 
true nature of individuality. To separate them from 
each other and from the rest of the world is to make 
them self- contradictory and meaningless. Bosanquet 
therefore rejects the theory of interaction/ The mind 
is neither separate from the body nor, as the materialists 
hold, a mere by-product of matter. Apart from the 
body, which is founded upon its environment, past 
and present, it is nothing, but it is nevertheless the 
principle of unity in which the outer world is focussed. 
It is " the centre or awakening of a determinate world 
which is its presupposition," the organ of the Absolute 
" for appropriation and appreciation of some context 
and province of experience." Instead of regarding the 
self as a spiritual substance operating ab extra upon the 
material world, we should conceive of it as " a perfection 
granted by the Absolute according to general laws, upon 
certain complex occasions and arrangements of exter- 
nality." According to this view, " mind is not so much 
a something, a unit, exercising guidance upon matter, 
as the fact of self- guidance of that world which appears 
as matter, when that reaches a certain level of organisa- 
tion" (Principle of Individuality and Falue y p. 193). 
Consciousness does not create an organism and use it 


as its instrument. Nor is it the effect of any physio- 
logical process. It is a " supervenient perfection," an 
interpretation and appreciation of the world process. 

Finite consciousnesses are not ultimate. They arise 
from and are based on arrangements of things below 
them and point to more complete forms of totality 
above them. Their limited purposes and ideals there- 
fore cannot be regarded as the ultimate guiding prin- 
ciples of the universe. Something higher and more 
inclusive than themselves works through them and is 
the power behind them. The finite consciousness, 
however, is not a mere accident in the universe. 
Because it implies opposition to and conflict with the 
not-self, it may appear that it must vanish as the 
resistance df what seems to be alien and hostile to it 
is overcome. But the opposition of the not-self to 
the self is not the whole truth. The negative relation 
presupposes a deeper relation which is positive. The 
not-self that resists the self is also responsive to it, 
because it "belongs to the essential structure of the 
real." As that which is itself and not itself in one, 
the self gives us some indication of the nature of 
reality. The unity in difference of the contents of 
consciousness suggests that the discords of which the 
world is full rest upon an ultimate harmony. Our 
failure to perceive this, Bosanquet thinks, is due to 
our confounding negativity with contradiction. The 
latter arises from the ascription of different things to 
the same term without making such distinctions 
between them as would give them different places 
within the same system. " It is an imperfection in 
the * organisation of systems." The way to remove 
contradictions is not simply to set them aside, but to 
effect such a readjustment of contents as to make it 


possible for them to come together within a new and 
a more comprehensive totality. Differences still remain, 
but are adjusted to one another within a more com- 
prehensive unity. Contradiction, that is, is transformed 
into negativity. In all that is real, negativity is essen- 
tial. It is " the tendency of every datum to transcend 
itself ^a fragment and complete itself ^as. a,. whole." 
Negativity means solved contradiction, the reduction 
of opposite things to the membership of a systematic 
whole. We find an application of this truth in the 
relation between the self and the not-self. Their very 
opposition is possible because of a unity that transcends 
them. " The sense of unity and reconciliation with the 
world beyond us is a far larger factor in our aware- 
ness of selfhood, and one which increases concomitantly 
with it, than is the sense of collision with the not-self." 
It is true that the consciousness of conflict with a 
resisting and hostile not-self is never absent from 
finite consciousness, but this points to the conclusion 
that the finite self is consummated and perfected in 
the Absolute experience, in which all things find their 
proper places and all discords are reduced to harmony. 
Finiteness, conflict, pain and evil u are essential features 
of reality, and belong to an aspect of it which leaves 
its mark even^on perfection itself." Perfection would 
not be what it is unless they played a part in it. " The 
burden of the finite is inherently a part or rather an 
instrument of the self- completion of the infinite." 

The Absolute is the complete and self- consistent 
whole in which finite beings are preserved and per- 
fected, not in their separateness, but as linked with 
one another. The recognition of it is forced oA us 
by the fact that no adequate definition of man can be 
given without taking into account his self- transcend- 


ence. " His individuality, his self- identity lie outside 
him as he presents himself in time." The finite, taken 
by itself, is riddled with contradictions and has no 
stability. Its unity and individuality has meaning only 
when it is seen in its proper place in the totality of 
experience to which there is no outside. The effort 
of thought to remove the contradictions inherent in 
what is immediately given leads us straight to the 
Absolute without a break. The Absolute therefore is 
not disconnected with ordinary experience, but is its 
completion and full meaning. In it we come together 
and attain our true being. It is our impotence that 
keeps us divided. The illusion that we are separate 
and self-centred arises only when we are at our worst. 
In the best moments of our life, when, for example, 
we fight on the same side or sacrifice ourselves for a 
great cause, we cease to be mutually repellent units 
and are fused into one harmonious whole. Our theory 
of the nature of the ultimate reality should be founded 
on such experiences. Human beings are not merely 
legal persons or mutually exclusive selves. The pre- 
supposition of them as personalities possessing rights 
is the social spirit, which is itself not the final form 
of individuality but one of its sub-forms. The finite 
selves have no hard and fast limits. There, is nothing 
that can_jnake them discontinuous with each othgr 
or jyith the, all-embracing experience. Their ultimate 
unity, that from which they diverge and to which they 
return, is the Absolute mind. 

Bosanquet regards individuality as the supreme 
criterion of value. He rejects the view that judg- 
merfts of value are incapable of being logically sup- 
ported. It is true that values are relative to feeling. 
But feeling can be subjected to criticism and is capable 


of being educated and modified. This means that there 
is a logical standard by which judgments of value 
are determined and that they are not dependent on 
mere feeling. That standard is individuality, i.e. self- 
completeness and freedom from contradiction. The 
more a thing is stable and organised, the more its 
parts cohere with and sustain each other, the greater 
is its value. And the ultimate standard of value is 
" the complete individuality of the universe as a 
conscious being." It is as organic parts of this indi- 
viduality, therefore, and not as isolated units, that 
things can be properly valued. Their significance 
and worth depends upon the place they have in the 

" The fundamental conviction which has guided our 
discussion," says Bosanquet, "has been that the truth, 
or the real, is the whole. And our anxiety has been 
lest by neglecting any factor, by committing ourselves 
to any fundamental antithesis, we should ipso facto 
subordinate mind or spirit to excluded elements, which, 
so far as excluded, must remain both hostile and 
superior " (Principle of Individuality and Falue, p. 
318). Justice must, of course, be done to every 
particular element within the whole, to all special forms 
of appearance^ but it must not be forgotten that their 
reality lies in their being interconnected members of 
a logical whole. |ach of them is what it is, in the 
^jise_that_ it cannot be, reduced to any other, but 
this is only the necessary implication of their inter- 
dependence. The whole is a spiritual being of which 
the external world is " the condition and the comple- 
ment." The true type of individuality, Bosantjuet 
holds, is the concrete universal, a world or cosmos. 
There is nothing outside it by which it can be deter- 


mined, and, therefore, it alone is free in the truest 
sense of the term. The freedom of a finite being 
arises from its membership of the world. "A finite 
individual is in essence a cosmos which is a portion 
of the cosmos," and "the character of self -complete- 
ness, of being a cosmos, carries with it its own mode 
of self-determination and initiative." There is no 
hard and fast distinction between it and its environ- 
ment; it is the inwardness of the environment itself. 
" You cannot say where self ends and environment 
begins." JFreedoni, therefore, does not consist ia keep- 
ing^ the self free from the influence of the outer world, 
but " in the direction towards unity and coherence." 
" It Js the working, the c logic,' of this relative totality 
of experience that constitutes the freedom of the con- 
crete self; which thus affirms itself as a part of the 
eternal deed in which the Absolute sustains its living 
whole of experience " (Principle of Individuality and 
Value, p. 326). To the objection that the present is 
determined by the past out of which it arises, and the 
history of the world is therefore " the rattling off of 
a chain of results inevitably decreed," Bosanquet's 
answer is that " all logical process is the reshaping of 
a world of content by its own universal spirit." The 
process of evolutionary transformation is neither mere 
imitation and repetition nor inexplicable invention, but 
thej^rno^ulj^ing^ of the past leading to the fuller realis- 
ation of its own meaning in the present. It implies 
cc the awareness of a whole reshaping itself according 
to the full significance of the constituent contents." 
Freedom is to be distinguished from both contingency 
and* predetermination. It means not want of deter- 
mination but self- determination, " the impulse towards 
unity and coherence (the positive spirit of non-contra- 


diction) by whiieJi^every ./raiment j&ams, ^tow^rds ^die 
:wkek^tp ,wkidxJt-helQyp,g3> and every self. to. its. com- 
pletion in the Absolute^ and of which the Absolute 
Itself is at once an incarnation and a satisfaction " 
(Principle of Individuality and Value, p. 340). As 
continuous with the universe and as the active form 
of totality, the self is all-inclusive. There is nothing 
outside it by which it can be fatally determined. All 
its activities spring from its own nature, and it is 
<c creative and originative according to its own law 
the only law of creativeness which prevails in the 

Summing up his views, Bosanquet reminds us that 
nature and the self are not separate entities but cor- 
related elements of a single harmonious system, viz. 
the Absolute. The mathematical physicists' concep- 
tion of nature is not ultimately valid. It is merely 
a convenient way, for the special purposes of science, 
of representing certain aspects of the world, and .is 
the outcome of abstraction. Nature, as we know it, 
actually possesses all its various qualities, primary, 
secondary and tertiary, and is therefore real not by 
itself but as a fundamental aspect of the totality of 
experience. It is not less real but more real than it 
is usually taken to be. Its being implies its continuity 
with mind. This does not mean that it is reducible 
to mere psychical states. Bosanquet is most emphatic 
in insisting upon the opposition of mind and nature, 
only that he points out that the opposition is relative 
and not absolute. Nature j$ complementary., la jnind. 
The whole content of ^JndXQmes from nafny. The 
only thing in it which is not nature is " the spirit of 
totality, the attitude which makes everything alive in 
its bearing on the whole." " Mind has nothing of its 


jown but the actiyjkfbim,ofjptalj^^ 
jtjdraws from nature." 

Finite minds"" "exist"' through nature, just as nature 
exists through finite minds. In them particular sections 
and aspects of nature get focussed. Our minds there- 
fore are not foreign to nature but are nature's own 
mind. Through them it passes into the complete 
experience of the Absolute. Just as our various moods 
and tendencies are not allowed to become dissociated 
but are integrated into a well-organised whole when 
we are at our best, so are all finite minds at their 
highest level blended into the unity of the Absolute. 
The transmutation of experience involved in the sub- 
ordination of its constituent elements to the whole is 
a well-known feature of daily life. " A careful analysis 
of a single day's life of any fairly typical human being 
would establish triumphantly all that is needed in prin- 
ciple for the affirmation of the Absolute." What the 
different phases of a harmonious life are to it, that 
we are to the Absolute. "We might compare the 
Absolute," says Bosanquet, " to Dan te's mind as uttered 
in the Divine Comedy. The point would be that in 
it external nature, say, Italy, becomes an emotion and 
a value, not less but more than spatial; each self, say 
Paolo or Francesca, while still its real self, is also a 
factor in the poet's mind, which is uttered in all these 
selves taken together; and the whole poetic experience 
is single, and yet includes a world of space and persons, 
which to any common mind fall apart and become 
c a geographical expression,' plus certain commonplace 
historical figures. This inclusion we compare to the 
AbsMute, as it holds together what for us is finite 
experience " (Principle of Individuality and 


In the second course of his Gifford lectures Bosanquet 
proceeds to apply the principle elaborated in the first 
course to the finite self, to determine its value and 
destiny in the light of his doctrine of individuality. 
In reality there is only one ultimate individual, the 
universe, and the human soul can work out its destiny 
not as a separate entity, but as a member of the uni- 
verse. The human soul is "both a concentration of 
externality and a fragment of the Absolute." It con- 
centrates in itself and represents only a small section 
of the external world, and although it is originated 
and shaped by the universe, it nevertheless, in virtue 
of the active principle, " the spirit of the whole," which 
it contains, shapes itself. This fact accounts for the 
" hazards and hardships " of the finite self. The uni- 
versal spirit being present and operative in it, " it is 
torn between its existence and its self- transcendence." 
In the effort to complete itself, to solve the contra- 
diction which its double nature involves, it "will 
break in pieces every partial form of its own crystallised 
being, will welcome the chapter of accidents, and clothe 
itself in conflict and adventure." The cure of this 
unrest is found in self- recognition, in the knowledge 
that the finite mind is rooted in and has its true being 
in the Absolute whole. The source of the troubles 
of the human soul is also the source of its value. 
Self- recognition is another name for the religious con- 
sciousness of which the essence is "giving ourselves 
to something which we cannot help holding supreme." 
In unity with the Absolute the security and stability 
of the finite self is to be found. 

Bosanquet repeatedly urges that the finite self has 
no being apart from its membership of the whole. 
The distinctness of particular persons as a fact in prac- 


tical life is not to be denied, but it presupposes an 
underlying unity too often overlooked. The common 
idea is that men are parted off from one another by 
their subjective feelings, which are incapable of being 
shared. Their individuality, it is supposed, consists 
in their being absorbed in this exclusiveness. But 
however private and incommunicable feelings may be, 
they are never complete by themselves, but imply a 
universal objective content. This objective content is 
the common possession of all finite minds. It is com- 
prehended by them in different ways, but the content 
of what is variously comprehended and reacted upon 
is one and the same. Because a feeling is my feeling, 
it does not follow that it is that only and nothing 
else. " The pure privacy and incommunicability of 
feeling as such is superseded in all possible degrees by 
the self- transcendence and universality of the contents 
with which it is unified." The common fallacy is also 
due to a confusion between supra-social feelings and 
the purely private and exclusive feelings of the indi- 
vidual. Emotions connected with art, religion and 
philosophy are non-social, but "are nevertheless uni- 
versal, and organs of self- transcendence." Because 
they have nothing to do with ordinary social relations 
they are apt to be regarded as exclusive and unshare- 
able. "The man who has merged his world in God 
is mistaken, and perhaps mistakes himself, for one who 
has never risen out of himself to communicate with 
the world at all. The artist and the philosopher, whose 
enthusiasm goes out to all order and intelligence, may, 
as against a given social group, rank as types of the 
unsocial and the recluse" (Value and Destiny of the 
Individual, p. 39). 

It is the impotence of finite minds, their inability to 


comprehend completely and adequately the one world 
to which they belong, that keeps them apart. At their 
best, they are seen to be the elements of a unity that 
includes and transcends them. Within the one soul 
there is diversity and between the many souls there is 
unity. " The increase and deepening of individuality 
is a progress towards unity with the whole. Self- 
distinction, no doubt, becomes more marked; but true 
self- distinction is hostile to self- absorption." Diver- 
sity, in short, is impossible without a thorough-going 

This world is sometimes spoken of as a " vale of 
tears.' 5 But Bosanquet regards what Keats calls " sowl 
making " as its chief business. For this a good deal 

"**,... jO 1 _.-...... -..,,, O 

of pain and trouble is essential. Soul, like life, of 
which it is the perfection and completion, is on one 
side moulded by its natural and social environment. 
Its evolution is guided by natural selection or by 
the requirement of being equal to the occasion. By 
natural selection, in this connection, Bosanquet under- 
stands " the operation of a realm of externality in 
modelling its responsive centre, and thereby coming 
alive itself in a partial individuality which represents 
it." Mind or soul gets its content from life and is 
so shaped by its environment as to be its fitting centre 
of representation. And " not only are particular centres 
of experience moulded by natural selection into a deeper 
harmony with their surroundings, but in so far as the 
surroundings form a mental or spiritual system a social 
mind the particular centres begin to be adapted as 
members of an individuality transcending their own." 
The making of souls, that is, involves their self- abrtega- 
tion and subordination to a wider unity. All this implies 
much strain and conflict, for although an expansion of 


being is attained, the earlier and simpler adaptations are 

On another side, the formation of soul through 
natural and social selection is the soul's self- formation, 
or what Bosanquet calls the "miracle of will." The 
soul is " a range of externality c come alive ' by center- 
ing in mind." In it a section of the world is focussed, 
by means of which new facts and meanings are elicited 
from it. Mind or will is not something different from 
and above things operating on them from outside, but 
is a limited form of the spirit of the whole, the active 
principle of totality. There is therefore in the finite 
mind always the tendency to be the whole, and the 
miracle of the will consists in the transformation, in 
obedience to this tendency, of a given situation which 
the mind effects by including it in a more compre- 
hensive system. This is made possible by the con- 
nectedness of things and the consequent openings into 
wider possibilities which every situation affords. "JEsff. 
every given situatiqn there is a larger and more effective 
point of view than that given, and^ because the spirit 
of the whole, in the shape of some special want or 
question, is always in the mind, it can always, in prin- 
ciple, find clues to new possibilities in every given 
situation " (Value and Destiny of the Individual, xxiv.). 
The changes which we make in the world is " the 
reshaping of our world by itself under the influence 
of the nisus of mind to the whole." Behind the finite 
mind there is the driving power of the whole with 
which it is continuous. There is always " more in it 
than is before it," and what "works in it and on the 
situation " explains the mind's power to change things 
for the better. 

" Being moulded, on the one hand," concludes 


Bosanquet, " and moulding circumstances on the other 
coming alive as a world, but as a world reshaping 
itself and transcending itself through striving towards 
the unity which is completeness are the double aspect 
of the soul or self which is essentially a world " (Value 
and Destiny of the Individual, p. 130). 

The immediate appearance of things suggests that 
the finite selves are independent beings at arm's length 
with one another, although connected by relations of 
right and duty. It is not realised that they are also 
infinite, and are therefore always beyond themselves. 
The result is that the world in -which we live comes 
to be regarded as one of claims and counter-claims 
only. The deeper unity which binds us together is 
missed. The relations in which we stand to one 
another are supposed to be merely external relations 
between independent beings. Life, conceived in this 
way, says Bosanquet, is " full of hazard and hardship," 
for, on thej3asis,.c>f .relational individualism^ no finite 
self can ever come up to the requirements of right 
and duty. " It never feels that it does its pure duty, 
nor that it gets its whole rights. It cannot make its 
own claims good, nor satisfy the counter-claims upon 
it." And it never ceases to complain that goods 
are not apportioned to individuals according to their 
merits. The view of life, however, of which all this 
is the consequence is radically false. We really belong 
not to a world of claims and counter-claims, but to 
the "great world of spiritual membership." In realised 
social morality, of which religion is the consummation, 
" we have already transcended the world of claims and 
counter-claims, and have entered the sphere where 
relations are superseded by a true identity, and where 
finite beings, though still in the main finite, are no 


longer at arm's length, bjjyMare .J>ulse beats of the, 
JKhpte.. system." Individualistic claims vanish, and in 
living a universal life the best men have to bear the 
heaviest burdens. Being members one of another, we 
share in a common life and are united in happiness 
and suffering. The only real claim which each of us 
has is to be the best that we can be, " at once the 
highest self- surrender and, no doubt, the completest 
self-affirmation." Bosanquet admits that this attitude 
cannot be maintained uncompromisingly by beings 
such as we are, " having many characters of isolation 
and distinctness." It is necessary that to each unit of 
society the conditions of a decent life should in some 
degree be secured, but the unit must not insist upon 
its aspect of finitude and distinctness, and must look, 
" as in religion, from itself and not to itself, and ask 
nothing better than to be lost in the whole which is 
at the same time its own best." 

The struggles of human life, its pleasures and pains, 
are the outcome of its double nature. It is because 
man asji finite-infinite being has the ineradicable im- 
pulse to transcend his limited nature that he experi- 
ences both pleasure and pain. When the mind's effort 
towards completeness is successful, the result is pleasure; 
when it meets with obstacles, it is attended by pain. 
Pleasures and pains therefore are not mutually exclusive 
opposites, but necessary incidents in one and the same 
forward movement of life. .The finite being is con- 
tinually passing out of its narrower self into a fuller 
and a more complete self, and this passage involves 
contradiction and friction quite as much as expansion 
and attainment. Itjs a pleasurable experience of which 
pain is a transcended element. Our trials and tribula- 
tions and our value have both the same source. As 


movement towards perfection implies, in consequence 
of our limitations, strain and conflict, pleasure, does 
not always correspond to good and pain to evil. The 
attainment of good may mean much suffering, and 
the search for pleasure may not be possible without 
acquiescence in what is evil. On life and activity, 
which are the conditions of pleasure, pain also depends, 
for it is the outcome of thwarted activity. Bosanquet 
therefore denies that pain can ever be eliminated from 
finite, life. All that can be hoped for is a diminu- 
tion and a transmutation of the character of pain as 
the world makes progress. As long as man is man, 
tears must be shed, but " tears [may be] made human 
by laughter and laughter [may be] triumphant over 

The opposition of good and evil, like that of pleasure 
and pain, depends upon the double nature of the finite 
creature. Its inherent aim is perfection, and what 
satisfies this aim is good. All that brings us nearer 
to perfection is good and has value, and all that is 
opposed to it is evil. To attain the good is to make 
progress towards what would really satisfy the self. 
This means the organisation of desires and volitions 
into a coherent system brought about by the self being 
in harmony with society and humanity. It is not pos- 
sible to distinguish between good and evil without 
" implicit or explicit reference to the world of spiritual 
membership in which the apparently finite creature 
comes to his reality." The self that finds completion 
in a wider totality is the good self, and the evil self 
is in conflict with it. Good and evil therefore imply 
each other. They are made of the same stuff and 
"exhibit the venture of the finite spirit, striving to 
pass its limits towards perfection," 


The hazards and hardships of which man's life is 
full arise out of his greatness. They are due to his 
unceasing effort to realise his deeper nature to be 
actually the infinite that he ideally is. _As_Jo_JOg_..AS 
. the end., i A ..his., own strength and as 

ajsparate -being h,e must fail The waj to emancipation 
from the bondage of finitude is self-- recognition. In 
the feeling and conviction which we can have in the 
very midst of the trials and tribulations of life that 
the foundation of our being is an eternal spirit reveal- 
ing itself in the world, lies our stability and security. 
The religious consciousness, in short, lifts us above 
our finitude and connects us with the eternal spirit. 
" It is the surrender or completion of finite selfhood 
in the world of spiritual membership," and has no 
special connection with the supernatural or divine. The 
essence of irreligion is self-sufficiency, and we have 
the religious attitude " whenever we find a devotion 
which makes the finite self seem as nothing, and some 
reality to which it attaches itself seem as all." The 
central thing in religion is devotion to and absorption 
in something which is regarded as of infinitely higher 
value than the private self, and its climax is self- 
surrender to the Absolute. " In the broadest sense, 
wherever man is devout wherever he places his value 
in something beyond his private self, and that some- 
thing taken to be real there he has set his foot on 
ground which so far emancipates him from the hazards, 
the hardships, the discipline, of finiteness; or rather, 
emancipates him not so much from these incidents as 
actually through them. Like the beings of folklore 
whos*e life is hidden elsewhere than in their own bodies, 
his woth and his interest are laid up where amdents 
affecting his temporal self cannot reach them, and in 


the complete and typical case, where no accident or 
injury can do anything but intensify them" (Value and 
Destiny of the Individual, p. 239). The religious man 
cannot get rid of the characteristics and consequences 
of his finite nature. Not by vainly attempting to rise 
superior to them but by their instrumentality must he 
attain completeness. " We cannot be * saved ' as we 
are; we cannot cease to be what we are; we can only 
be saved by giving ourselves to something in which 
we remain what we .are, and yet enter into something 
new" (What Religion Is, pp. 8-9). 

Following Bradley, Bosanquet distinguishes thejQod 
of religion frojrn^jthe Absolute. The perfect whole, the 
all-embracing experience that contains everything and 
excludes nothing, is the Absolute. It transcends all its 
aspects or appearances and cannot be identified with 
any of them. All finite facts and experiences are in 
it, not as they are for us but rearranged and trans- 
formed. What is evil, for example, in the finite will 
is in the Absolute, but not as evil. It has been adjusted 
to the good and absorbed. God is the Absolute con- 
ceived not as the completest experience but as " the 
greater self recognised by us as present within the 
finite spirit and as one with it in love and will." He 
is the ultima-te reality appearing to and in relationship 
with the finite spirit, not the ultimate reality itself, 
which is inclusive of the finite spirit. 

On the subject of the relation of the Absolute to 
time, order and progress, Bosanquet's view is that the 
gerfect whole contains the temporal serie^ as, ^iieces- 
sary elemen t of itself. He rejects the Bergsonian 
theory that reality is not a whole manifested in 'time 
but a never-ending process of creative evolution. This 
theory makes time an absolute reality and perfection 


meaningless. On the other hand, the view that some 
day in the future time will cease and the goal towards 
which the course of the world is advancing will be 
attained all at once, expects that to happen in an anti- 
cipated golden age which is impossible now. Both 
these theories make unwarranted drafts on the future, 
"In what may be called our literature of happiness 
serious fiction and popular philosophy the reliance 
on the future has become, it seems to me, an actual 
disease." ,A true philosophy must see that an eternally 
realised perfection is not incompatible with but actually 
demands the progress of the finite in time. Just as 
a piece of music is impossible without the serial appre- 
hension of it, although it is not the mere serial order, 
so j^s the Absolute a whole of which expression in time 
is the essence. The changes and movements of the 
temporal order, the conflict of good and evil, are all 
inherent in it. " We have to assign a place to progress 
within a whole and as its manifestation." What is to 
be expected in the future therefore is not the millennium 
but an ever-increasing measure of self- recognition on 
the part of the finite being, the amplification of his 
vision of the whole. X&fiL troubles of life are due to, 
our Joss of hold on its spiritual foundation. We rely 
on our own strength and forget the infinite spirit in 
which we are rooted. The result is that in spite of 
the immense material progress of the present age, in 
spite of our scientific knowledge and mastery of nature, 
there has actually been an intensification of our un- 
happiness. Our finite acquisitions and achievements 
are in themselves utterly worthless and acquire value 
only'when they are viewed "as embodiments of the 
supreme will, or as contributions to the Absolute." 
The most important change in the future which may 


be hoped for is the quickening of the feeling of "at- 
homeness in the whole," a more general recognition 
of the truth that the worth of the finite individual 
lies in its identification with u the ultimate individu- 
ality, which the fragmentariness and the conflicts of 
finite existence are the means of manifesting and 

It is hard to reconcile Bosanquet's view that the 
chief business of the universe is the making of souls 
with his constantly reiterated doctrine that the dis- 
tinction of finite selves is an appearance only due to 
their impotence and that from the ultimate point of 
view their destiny is to be " transmuted and re- 
arranged " in the whole. Does the Absolute take 
pains to mould and fashion finite souls, to start them 
on the path to perfection, in order that they may be 
finally engulfed in it? Is it possible to think that 
minds laboriously developed at great cost are in the 
end simply dissolved in a higher unity? That finite 
individuals have no reality apart from the total system 
of things to which they belong is of course true, but 
from this it does not follow that ultimately they are 
lost in a single, all-absorbing experience. An absolute 
that does not differentiate itself into a plurality of finite 
centres of experience is as much an abstraction as 
finite centres of experience not gathered up into the 
unity of the Absolute. No one has laid more stress on 
this truth than Bosanquet himself. The whole of his 
lecture on "The Concrete Universal," in the Prin- 
ciple of Individuality and Value^ is a powerful vindi- 
cation of it; but, nevertheless, he seems somehow to 
forget the spirit of his own teaching in insisting* that 
the destiny of the finite self is to be resolved and 
recomposed in the Absolute. In combating the error 


of pluralism, he tends to pass to a somewhat Spinozistic 

The truth is that individuation has a more important 
place in the constitution of the universe than Bosanquet 
is prepared to allow. In being self- expressed in the 
universe as an inclusive system of inter-related objects, 
the Absolute so pours its own inner being into them 
as to become their selves. Each of these objects, in 
its ideality, thus becomes the very centre of the uni- 
verse, a unique focalisation of its whole content. These 
selves overlap in their contents, but their distinction 
as selves, as different centres of experience of a common 
content, is fundamental and irremovable. The total 
content of the Absolute experience, the Absolute experi- 
ences not in one way but in all possible ways, and 
each of the viewpoints from which the whole is repre- 
sented is a determinate form of the Absolute, a self 
infinite no doubt, but infinite suo genere. Our selves 
are explicable only as limited expressions of these selves. 
The Absolute is real only as it is differentiated into 
its constituent selves. It is a harmonious system of 
complete but relative wholes of experience. Any blend- 
ing of these constituent selves into an undifferen dated 
totality is therefore impossible. They are distinct focal- 
isations of the same universe demanded by the universe 
for its own perfection. 


Bosanquet's contribution to political philosophy is as 
notable as his contributions to logic, metaphysics and 
aesthetics. There are not many treatises on politics in 
the f English language which equal his 

Theory of the State in the insight with which the 
fundamental problems of social philosophy are handled. 


The theory presented in this book is, as he himself 
puts it, " to be found not merely in Plato and in 
Aristotle but in very many modern writers, more 
especially in Hegel, T. H. Green, Bradley and Wal- 
lace." The standpoint is much the same as that of 
Green in his Principles of Political Obligation, but he 
is more unhesitating than Green in insisting upon the 
value of the state to the ethical life of its citizens. 
The state, he teaches, is a much more real object than 
a plant or an animal, and the study of it as it is and 
not the construction of an ideal society is the aim of 
social philosophy. " To depict what most people call 
c an ideal state ' is no more the object of political 
philosophy than it is the object, say, of Carpenter's 
Human Physiology to depict an c ideal ' man or an 
angel." Bosanquet makes the central idea of Greek 
political philosophy his own, the idea, namely, that 
" the human mind can only attain its full and proper 
life in a community of minds, or more strictly in a 
community pervaded by a single mind, uttering itself 
consistently though differently in the life and action 
of every member of the community." Such a concep- 
tion was developed in ancient times in connection with 
life in the Greek city-states. It lost its supremacy with 
the increasing prevalence of an individualistic theory 
of life, and has been revived again in modern times 
with the formation of nation-states. The modern 
theory, however, differs from the ancient in this, that 
it accords full recognition to the freedom of the indi- 
vidual and maintains that it is not by suppressing but 
by giving legitimate scope to it that the common social 
life can be realised. * 

Bosanquet begins by pointing out the contradiction 
involved in the conception of self-government, and 


shows that on the basis of the ordinary dualism of 
self and others the contradiction cannot be solved. The 
ground and justification of political obligation is self- 
government, but the question is, how the idea of self 
is to be reconciled with that of government. How 
can the authority which others must exercise over me, 
if there is to be government at all, be for me self- 
government? Law and government seem prima facie 
to be opposed to the individuality of man, and yet 
without them the free play of personality would not 
be possible. Bentham thinks that in order to acquire 
rights man must sacrifice part of his liberty, by which 
he understands the power to do what one pleases. 
Antecedently to law and government, rights do not 
exist. They, therefore, are necessary evils to which 
we have got to submit. But it is impossible to think 
of law and government as antagonistic to the self, if 
they are the necessary conditions of the unfolding of 
its capacities. That by means of which liberty is 
actualised cannot be destructive to it. The root of 
the difficulty lies in supposing that between self and 
others there is a fundamental opposition, and in the 
consequent failure to perceive that " the one, so far 
from surrendering some of his capacity for life through 
his fellowship with others, acquires and extends that 
capacity wholly in and through such fellowship." Mill's 
theory that an individual is free in everything that 
concerns himself alone and is subject to government 
in so far as his action affects others is open to the 
objection that it is impossible to draw a line of de- 
marcation between self -regard ing and other-regarding 
actfon. Every action done by me affects both myself 
and others. No fence can be put up round an indi- 
vidual so as to make him impervious to social forces, 


and no mistake is greater than to suppose that the 
more wayward and eccentric a man is the more he is 
free. We can get beyond law only by fulfilling it. It 
is a mistake to think that the difficulty inherent in 
the conception of self-government is removed if the 
government is democratic or, as the phrase is, govern- 
ment of the people for the people by the people. It 
is, on the contrary, increased. The people who rule 
are not the people who are ruled. The will of the 
majority is not the same thing as the will of the 
people, and the self-government of which one hears 
so much is not the government of each by himself 
but of each by others. 

" On the basis of everyday reflection then," says 
Bosanquet, " we are brought to an absolute deadlock 
in the theory of political obligation." If this dead- 
lock is to be removed, " we must take the two factors 
of the working idea of self-government in their full 
antagonism, and exhibit, through and because of this, 
the fundamental unity at their root, and the necessity 
and conditions of their coherence. We must show, 
in short, how man, the actual man of flesh and blood, 
demands to be governed, and how a government which 
puts real force upon him, is essential, as he is aware, 
to his becoming what he has it in him to be " (Philo- 
sophical Theory of the State, 3rd ed., p. 73). 

The theories of writers like Bentham, Mill and 
Spencer, Bosanquet aptly calls " theories of the first 
look." They all assume that society and the individual 
really are as they immediately appear to be. No satis- 
factory explanation of self-government is possible on 
the assumption that human beings are naturally isolated 
from one another and are only artificially brought 
together in the state. All right is in the state, says 


Bentham. All right is in the individual, says Spencer, 
for whom " the state has become little more than a 
record office of his contracts and consents." Both fail 
to perceive that " if a right can only be recognised 
by a society, it can only be real in an individual. . . . 
As long as the self and the law are alien and hostile, it 
is hopeless to do more than choose at random in which 
of the two we are to locate the essence of right " 
(Philosophical Theory of the State, pp. 66-67). 

The problem of self-government is more satisfac- 
torily handled by Rousseau, because, on the whole, 
he manages to get beyond the individualistic standpoint. 
Bosanquet shows that the popular idea of Rousseau, 
based upon sentences like u man is born free and every- 
where is in chains," is entirely mistaken. In spite of 
his continual relapse into individualistic ways of think- 
ing and modes of expression, the essence of his message 
is that in the state the minds and wills of its members 
are fused into a single indivisible whole. " Each of 
us puts into the common stock his person and his 
entire powers under the supreme direction of the 
general will; and we further receive each individual as 
an indivisible member of the whole." The state is, 
therefore, a moral person through participation in whose 
life alone man ceases to be a stupid and narrow animal 
and becomes an intelligent being. We attain freedom 
not by setting ourselves in opposition to the state but 
by obedience to its laws in which the general will is 
embodied. With law one's everyday rebellious self 
may be at variance, but it is nevertheless the expres- 
sion of one's deeper and more complete self. Con- 
formity to it is, for this reason, the essential thing in 
self- government. 

Rousseau is careful to distinguish the general will 


from the will of all. The object towards which the 
former is directed is the common good, whereas the 
latter is only a sum of particular wills. The will of 
all may be unanimous, because individuals, desiring 
not something general in its nature but what is calcu- 
lated to promote their various private interests, may 
nevertheless happen to agree in some particular point. 
The general will, on the other hand, aims at matters 
of common concern which may not be obvious to all. 
It is " that identity between my particular will and 
the wills of all my associates in the body politic which 
makes it possible to say that in all social co-operation, 
and in submitting even to forcible constraint, when 
imposed by society in the true common interest, I am 
obeying only myself, and am actually attaining my 
freedom" (Philosophical Theory of the State, p. 100). 
What generalises the will is a common interest and 
not the number of votes recorded. The will of all 
is a mere aggregate, but the general will is an organic 
unity. It is the universal principle that connects an 
individual with others and unites their particular wills 
into a coherent whole. " The unity of myself with 
others in a common good is the same in principle as 
the unity of myself with myself which I aim at in 
aiming at my own good." If the will of all were 
directed to the common good it would be transformed 
into the general will. The natural tendency of the 
great majority of men is to be guided by purely 
private interests, but it requires some amount of effort 
to discern the common good and to make it the 
determining principle of conduct. 

From the standpoint of the general will, the proWem 
of self-government undergoes a transformation. The 
opposition between self and others and between self 


and government vanishes and sovereignty is seen to 
be the exercise of the general will, justifying the use 
of force to compel a recalcitrant individual to be truly 
free by being in harmony with the general will. In 
so far as laws and institutions are what they ought to 
be, they embody the general will. 

Rousseau imagines that if free play is given to the 
particular wills, the general will is likely to emerge 
out of them through their conflict and the consequent 
cancellation of their differences. For this reason he 
condemns representative government and favours small 
republics in which the citizens can meet and discuss 
public questions. But this, Bosanquet thinks, is to 
appeal "from the organised life, institutions and selected 
capacity of a nation to that nation regarded as an 
aggregate of individuals," to enthrone, in short, the 
very will of all which he disparages. But in what 
Rousseau says about the function of the legislator his 
judgment is sound. What people really want they do 
not always know. If they got exactly what they 
clamour for, they would seldom be satisfied. " In 
order to obtain a full statement of what we will, what 
we want at any moment must at least be corrected 
and amended by what we want at all other moments; 
and this cannot be done without also correcting and 
amending it so as to harmonise it with what others 
want, which involves an application of the same process 
to them 55 (Philosophical Theory of the State, pp. 110- 
1 1). To do this work of criticism, to elicit the general 
will from the vague opinions and impulses of " a blind 
multitude, which often does not know what it wills, 
beciuse it rarely knows what is good for it," is, in 
Rousseau's view, the task of the legislator. 

The contradiction in self-government is due to the 


antithesis of self and others. It disappears as soon as 
we perceive that the average individual, absorbed in 
his private interests and pleasures, is not the real self. 
The social self extends beyond our private life, and we 
are genuine individuals only in so far as we identify 
ourselves with it. We become free not by dissociating 
ourselves from our fellow-beings and doing what we 
like, but by acquiescing in a law and order in which 
our universal self is realised. If, in one sense, this 
law and order restrains our private wills, in another 
sense it is the necessary means of our higher self- 
affirmation. The objective system of rights is the 
surest guarantee of our being able to become what 
it is possible for us to be. Self-government, rightly 
understood, means the subjection of our particular 
selves to an order which, to a large extent, expresses 
the general will, and liberty is not mere absence of 
restraint but " being ourselves most completely." The 
man whose desires are not narrow and casual, so that 
in the satisfaction of them he "feels choked and 
oppressed like one lost in a blind alley which grows 
narrower and narrower," but whose volitions are con- 
nected elements of a total system of life, is truly free. 
And institutions, without which the affirmation of such 
a will is not possible, are the embodiment of our 
liberty and, as such, have a claim on our allegiance. 

The state is the incarnation, the concrete form, of 
the general will. It is not the political organisation 
merely, but " includes the entire hierarchy of institu- 
tions by which life is determined, from the family to 
the trade, and from the trade to the Church and the 
University. It includes all of them, not as the mere 
collection of the growths of the country, but as the 
structure which gives life and meaning to the political 


whole, while receiving from it mutual adjustment, and 
therefore expansion and a more liberal air " (Philo- 
sophical Theory of the State, p. 139). The state 
nourishes and sustains the individual. It disciplines 
him, expands his ideas and " furnishes him with an 
outlet and a stable purpose capable of doing justice 
to his capacities a satisfying object of life." 

" Force, 55 says Bosanquet, " is inherent in the state, 
and no true ideal points in the direction of destroying 
it. 55 It is not the basis of the state, but is implied 
in it as the whole that makes the mutual adjustment 
of laws and institutions possible. " We make a great 
mistake in thinking of the force exercised by the state 
as limited to the restraint of disorderly persons by the 
police and the punishment of intentional lawbreakers. 
The state is the flywheel of our life. Its system is 
constantly reminding us of our duties, from sanitation 
to the incidents of trusteeship, which we have not the 
least desire to neglect, but which we are either too 
ignorant or too indolent to carry out apart from 
instruction and authoritative suggestion " (Philoso- 
phical Theory of the State, p. 141). The stimulating 
effect of the social order on the minds of its members, 
in so far as these minds are inert, takes the form of 

"Self-government, 55 argues Bosanquet, "can only 
be explained if the centre of gravity of the self is 
thrown outside what we are continually tempted to 
reckon as our individuality, and if we recognise as 
our real being, and therefore as imperative upon us, 
a self and a good which are but slightly represented 
in oi5r explicit consciousness at its ordinary level. 55 
The error of thinkers like Herbert Spencer is to con- 
ceive of the state as a mere association of independent 


units whose nature is not affected by their membership 
of it. They do not see that it is an organisation in 
which the life of every member is determined not by 
his immediate and more or less accidental contact with 
others but by the plan and purpose of the whole. 
Their error is analogous to that of the associationist 
psychologists who regard the unity of mind as arising 
out of the arbitrary association of separate elements. 
But modern psychology tells us that the mind is a 
unified system of " appercipient masses " in each of 
which a number of ideas are held together and organ- 
ised under the control of a general scheme. It is not 
a single system but "rather a construction of such 
systems, which may be in all degrees of alliance, in- 
difference and opposition to one another." But how- 
ever great may be the opposition of these subordinate 
mental systems to one another, they must all be under 
the more or less explicit control of the whole, if the 
unity of mind is to be preserved. Now society also 
" is a vast tissue of systems of this type, each of them 
a relatively though not absolutely closed and self- 
complete organisation." Within each group, the place 
and function of every member is determined by the 
nature of the group. And the same individual may 
belong to several such groups. Social life could not 
go on if between these various groups a working 
harmony were not maintained. It is the function of 
the state, as the most comprehensive organisation, to 
secure this harmony " by force if need be." The units 
of the state are not individuals but organised bodies 
of men. 

Mind and the state are alike in "being organisa- 
tions, each composed of a system of organisations." 
Further, " Minds and society are really the same fabric 


regarded from different points of view." What, out- 
wardly, are social groups are, inwardly, mental systems. 
"Every individual mind is a system of such systems 
corresponding to the totality of social groups as seen 
from a particular position." The social whole is 
reflected in the mind of every member of it from 
his characteristic and unique point of view. It is a 
self- identical organisation aware of itself in a plurality 
of centres. 

" The conception of society and the individual 
[being] correlative conceptions through and through," 
the question whether society is the means to the end 
of the individual or the individual the means to the 
end of society is entirely meaningless. There is no 
antagonism between the two. The universal and its 
differences are two aspects of one and the same thing. 
The end of the individual, therefore, is the same as 
that of society and the state, and this end is the realis- 
ation of the best life. It is not necessary for us to 
know in advance what in detail the best life is. Its 
nature is disclosed to us more and more as we make 
progress, because of our intolerance of contradictions, 
towards the attainment of a harmonious life of fully 
developed capacities. The function of the state is to 
remove hindrances to and create conditions favourable 
for the realisation of the end. It is not in its power 
to promote the end directly. For this purpose the 
spontaneous and intelligent action of self-conscious 
beings is necessary. It is such action alone that makes 
" the maximisation of our being," the widening of 
our self through its identification with the social whole, 
possible. Established and unchanging customs, autho- 
ritative traditions, mere routine, unless these are help- 
ful to self-conscious development by liberating energies 


available for the purpose, are- obstacles to moral progress. 
It is their influence on life and not the encroachment 
of others on what I vainly try to make my exclusive 
sphere of action that destroys liberty. The menace to 
liberty comes from automatism and not from others. 
"As in the private so in the general life, every en- 
croachment of automatism must be justified by opening 
new possibilities to self-conscious development, if it 
is not to mean degeneration and senility." In so far 
as automatism checks moral growth, the end of state 
action must be to remove it. 

As the state is not alien to the life of the individual, 
the minimising of its power cannot be the true ideal. 
There is no limit to the authority of the state except 
that which arises from the nature of its own end. With- 
out absolute power the state cannot effect a proper 
adjustment of the often conflicting claims of individuals 
and social groups. 

In common with Green, Wallace and Ritchie, 
Bosanquet holds that the rights of an individual arise 
out of his position in the state. They are "claims 
recognised by the state, i.e. by society acting as ulti- 
mate authority, to the maintenance of conditions favour- 
able to the best life." They may be regarded from the 
point of .view of the whole community and of the 
individuals who compose the community. From the 
standpoint of the community they are a the organic 
whole of the outward conditions necessary to the 
rational life." Rights do not belong to individuals in 
their isolation but depend upon the " state-maintained 
order in its connectedness as a single expression of a 
common good or will." Their end is the maintinance 
of external conditions essential to the full development 
of human personality. From the point of view of the 


individual, rights are powers secured to him by the 
state, in order that by the exercise of them he may 
make his unique contribution to the common good. 
Apart from the position of the individual recognised 
by the state they have no existence. No position, no 
rights. As rights are connected with social positions 
or vocations which " have their being in the medium 
of recognition," unrecognised rights do not exist. They 
cannot be based on my mere desire to do what it pleases 
me to do. 

In the network of social relations, the rights which 
are claimed by one man are duties owed to him by 
others. My right to walk along the public road implies 
an obligation on the part of others not to obstruct me. 
Rights and duties are thus the correlatives of each 
other. But } in a higher sense, jall^ rights are duties. 
They are powers belonging to me in virtue of my social 
position which I am bound to exercise in order to 
realise the moral end. 

One of the distinctive features of Bosanquet's theory 
is that he conceives of the state as consisting of " facts 
as well as ideas and purposes as well as facts." The 
institutions of which the state is the organised unity 
are, of course, external facts in the natural world, but 
they are also embodiments of ethical ideas. " An insti- 
tution implies a purpose or sentiment of more minds 
than one, and a more or less permanent embodiment 
of it. c Of more minds than one ' because it is to fix 
the meeting points of minds that the external embodi- 
ment is necessary." Apart from the social mind, insti- 
tutions are no more real than is the universe apart from 
the Absolute mind. 

"The nation-state is the widest organisation which 
has the common experience necessary to found a 


common life." For this reason, " it is recognised as 
absolute in power over the individual and as his repre- 
sentative and champion in the affairs of the world out- 
side." The state exists in order to maintain the outward 
conditions of a desirable life. But it is impossible to 
determine these conditions without reference to the kind 
of life that is to be realised, and it is only within the 
limits of a nation state that there can be a distinctive 
type of life. 

In answer to the question whether state action can 
be judged by the same standard as private action, the 
essence of what Bosanquet has to say is that a state can 
be judged only in respect of its act of will as a state 
and not by what its agents may do on their own account 
in the name of the state. If they commit any breach 
of morality, they are certainly censurable, but their acts 
are not imputable to the state unless they are done with 
the active support of public opinion, in which case " the 
guilty state is judged before the tribunal of humanity 
and history." The important thing to remember is that 
state actions " cannot be identified with the deeds of its 
agents, or morally judged as private volitions are 
judged. Its acts proper are always public acts, and it 
cannot, as a state, act within the relations of private life 
in which -organised morality exists. It has no deter- 
minate function in a larger community, but is itself the 
supreme community; the guardian of a whole moral 
world, but not a factor within an organised moral world. 
Moral relations presuppose an organised life; but such 
a life is only within the state, not in relations between 
the state and other communities " (Philosophical Theory 
of the State, p. 302). What the state does in ortier to 
fulfil its mission is, of course, subject to criticism and 
cannot be morally indifferent, but it is mere confusion 


to pass moral judgments on its acts in the same sense 
as on the acts of private individuals. A public act " is 
the act of a supreme power which has ultimate respon- 
sibility for protecting the form of life of which it is 
the guardian, and which is not itself protected by 
any scheme of functions or relations, such as prescribes 
a course for the reconciliation of rights and secures 
its effectiveness " (Philosophical Theory of the State, 

P* 34)- 

There is no such thing as Humanity as a single 

organised community. The great majority of men are 
living lives scarcely worth living. It is true that in 
virtue of their intelligence they have capacities which 
can be realised, but as yet they remain unrealised. That 
being so, all men cannot be effective members of a 
common society. " It does not follow from this that 
there can be no general recognition of the rights arising 
from the capacities for good life which belong to man 
as man. Though insufficient, as variously and imper- 
fectly realised, to be the basis of an effective community, 
they may, so far as realised, be a common element or 
tissue of connection running through the more con- 
crete experience on which effective communities rest" 
(Philosophical Theory of the State, p. 307). 

Beyond the multitude of states and the idea of 
Humanity there are " fuller utterances of the same uni- 
versal self which the c general will' reveals in more 
precarious forms." In passing into the spheres of art, 
religion and philosophy, " the human mind, consolidated 
and sustained by society, goes further on its path in 
removing contradictions and shaping its world and itself 
inttj unity." 



ONE of the ablest attacks on the Hegelian theory of 
the state is contained in Professor L. T. Hobhouse's 
Metaphysical Theory of the State. He is unsparing 
in his condemnation of Hegel and Bosanquet, but 
Green is gently let off and is even appreciated. The 
cause of this differential treatment is not apparent. In 
principle, there is not much difference between Green 
and Bosanquet. Being the first to introduce into indi- 
vidualistic England the political ideas of Plato, Aristotle 
and Hegel, Green necessarily displays, as Bosanquet 
puts it, " scrupulous caution in estimating the value 
of the state to its members," but he is not one whit 
less emphatic than Bosanquet in proclaiming that an 
individual can live the life of a moral being only as 
a member of some state. Perhaps Green's radicalism 
in practical politics and his fervent faith in democracy 
make Professor Hobhouse indulgent to him. His attack 
on Hegel is not the outcome merely of a scholar's medi- 
tations in his study but of the desire of an ardent 
patriot, precluded by the disabilities of middle age from 
volunteering for active service in the war, to do some- 
thing for making the world safe for democracy. <^)ne 
fine morning, during the war, Professor Hobhouse sat 
in a garden annotating HegePs theory of freedom when 



a German air raid took place. This was to him an 
eye-opener. " In the bombing of London I had just 
witnessed the visible and tangible outcome of a false 
and wicked doctrine, the foundations of which lay, as 
I believe, in the book before me." All that he had 
witnessed, he had no doubt, "lay implicit in the 
Hegelian theory of the God-state." Inspired by this 
belief, it is no wonder that Professor Hobhouse fights 
with the zeal of a crusader. But to less gifted men, 
the connection between Hegel's Philosophy of Right 
and the war is by no means obvious. What is the head 
and front of Hegel's offending ? Is it the teaching that 
the individual cannot be a moral being without subor- 
dinating himself to the social whole ? Does the spirit 
of self-sacrifice endanger the peace of the world and 
the insistence on one's right to do what one pleases, 
provided that the same right of others is not infringed, 
bring about the millennium ? It is true that in HegePs 
eyes the state is the earthly god; but he has nowhere 
said that the earthly god is the only God. On the con- 
trary, the burden of his teaching is that the human soul 
can find satisfaction and rest only in the Absolute Spirit, 
in the religious and philosophical consciousness of union 
with God and not merely in participation in the life of 
the state. Above and beyond the earthly god is the 
heavenly God. The state, with all its majesty and 
power, is only a subordinated element of the whole and 
not the ultimate Reality. The fall of Germany is due 
not to the teaching of Hegel but to its forgetfulness 
of that teaching, to its failure to recognise anything 
higher than the state. No country, in recent times, has 
repudiated Hegel's philosophy more than Germany. 
The besetting sin of the whole world to-day is the 
same, viz. forgetfulness of the eternal verities. It is 


deaf to the message of Hegel, reiterated in endless 
ways, that " God is present, omnipresent, and exists as 
spirit in all spirits. God is a living God who is acting 
and working." " Then all the old things were true." 
" This," says Bosanquet, " is the overwhelming impres- 
sion which the events of the last five years (written in 
1919) have left upon my mind. ... It is, then, only 
spiritual goods that is real and stable, earthly and 
material aims are delusive and dangerous, and the root 
of strife. . . . An immense fabric of civilisation, with 
its pride and policy mainly directed upon material pros- 
perity, invited, according to all that our teachers have 
told us, disaster proportional to its magnitude " (Preface 
to Philosophical Theory of the State, jrd ed., xlv.). 

Professor Hobhouse denies that there is any such 
thing as the general will or that the state is the embodi- 
ment of it. But he is most explicit in declaring that 
society is not an aggregate of individuals. "Every 
association of men," we are told, " is legitimately re- 
garded as an entity possessing certain characteristics of 
its own, characteristics which do not belong to the indi- 
viduals apart from their membership of that associa- 
tion " (Metaphysical Theory of the State, p. 27). " The 
life of a whole is more than that of its parts. . . . The 
body is something other than the cells which compose 
it, for this simple reason among others, that the cells 
die when separated from the body and therefore rapidly 
cease to be that which they at present are." Even so 
are individuals unreal in separation from the social 
whole whose members they are. After this, one 
naturally expects an exposition and defence of the idea 
of organic unity. But no. Instead of this, there c^mes 
the announcement that the distinction between the self 
and others is irremovable. "The self is a continuous 


identity united by strands of private memory and ex- 
pectation, comprising elements of feelings, emotion and 
bodily sensation which are its absolute exclusive pro- 
perty. No such continuity unites distinct selves, how- 
ever alike, or however united in their objects. So at 
last it seems to those whom Dr. Bosanquet dismisses 
with contempt as " theorists of the first look." For 
them human individuality is and remains something 
ultimate. " The difference between self and another is 
as plain as the difference between black and white, and 
if a man does not see it, there is nothing plainer to 
appeal to." How the ultimateness of human indivi- 
duality is consistent with its being to society what a cell 
is to the body, Professor Hobhouse does not explain. 
His idea apparently is that the only alternative to indi- 
vidualistic theories is to set up " the state as a greater 
being, a spirit, a super-personal entity, in which indi- 
viduals with their private consciences or claims of right, 
their happiness or their misery, are merely subordinate 
elements " (Metaphysical Theory of the State, p. 27). 
And he proceeds to accuse Bosanquet of advocating 
such a theory. The individual, we are informed, " is 
absorbed in the organised political society, the state of 
which he is a member." Of the organised whole, he 
is regarded as " a kind of transitory phase." All this, 
however, is sheer misunderstanding. Bosanquet has 
nowhere said that the general will is something over 
and above the particular wills of individuals in which 
they are lost. What he maintains is that the wills of 
the individuals, in so far as they make the common good 
their end, is the general will. " It is in the difference 
which contributes to the whole that the self feels itself 
at home and possesses its individuality." " The social 
whole [is] of the nature of a continuous or self- 


identical being pervading a system of differences and 
realised only in them." In interpreting society, Bosan- 
quet, in short, makes use of the idea of organic unity 
with which Professor Hobhouse, in spite of his body 
and cell analogy, is, strangely enough, never in close 
quarters. Because society is not other than the indi- 
viduals, it does not follow that it is only a sum of them. 
It is possible to think of it as a unity realised in the 
plurality of the minds and wills of its members. 

In support of his contention that " the difference 
between self and another is as plain as the difference 
between black and white," Professor Hobhouse refers 
to the fact that the inner experiences of men, their sensa- 
tions, feelings and desires, are absolutely private to them 
and are incapable of being shared. The outer world 
which is experienced is, no doubt, the same, but my 
experiencing of it is unique and is only mine and cannot 
be identified with yours. The object is one, but the 
centres of perception, thought, feeling and will related 
to that object are many. That the inner life of one 
man is his only and cannot be the same as that of 
another man is indisputable; but the inner cannot be 
divorced from the outer, and the identity of the outer 
world, upon which different selves are based, furnishes 
an essential element of the bond of union between them. 
The subject and the object are opposed manifestations 
of a principle of unity that underlies them. Different 
selves, differently experiencing a common world, are 
therefore necessarily embraced within this concrete 
principle of unity. Until this fundamental point of 
idealistic philosophy is disposed of, the way to pluralism 
is effectively barred. It is no use pointing to the divdr- 
sities of inner experience. The idealist has never denied 
them. His contention has always been that in and 


through them a universal principle is realised. No 
universal, no individual. The true core of individuality 
is not any element of isolation but the unique focalisa- 
tion of the same world in each centre of experience. 
Professor Hobhouse is not unaware of the ground on 
which the idealist takes his stand. He alludes to the 
doctrine of the concrete universal, but says that it is 
true only of the system of thought which is not iden- 
tical with the system of reality. Immediately after, 
remembering perhaps the doctrine of the identity of 
thought and being, he makes the admission that " reality 
itself is not finally intelligible until we take the relation 
between it and thought into account by a further and 
more comprehensive thought " (Metaphysical Theory 
of the State, p. 65). The idealist does not contend for 
anything very different from this. His point is not 
that the process of thinking is identical with the object 
thought of, but that the duality of thought and its 
object presupposes a " more comprehensive thought " of 
which they are factors. Once this principle is grasped, 
there is no escape from the conclusion that different 
centres of experience constitute a plurality in which an 
ideal and ultimate unity is manifested. 

The system of law, which may be said to be the 
framework of the state, is, says Professor Hobhouse, 
" not the product of one will. ... It is rather the product 
of innumerable wills, acting sometimes in concert, some- 
times in opposition to one another, and through their 
conflicts and combinations issuing in a more or less 
orderly system " (Metaphysical Theory of the State, 
p. 61). "The actual institutions of a society," we are 
told, " are not the imperfect expression of a real will, 
which is essentially good and harmonious, but the result 
into which the never-ceasing clash of wills has settled 


down with some degree of permanency " (Metaphysical 
Theory of the State, p. 86). The question is not 
whether laws and institutions have emanated from the 
mind of a single law-giver framing them with foresight, 
but whether a common purpose, a generally accepted 
scheme of life, only vaguely apprehended by the bulk 
of men, runs through the particular wills of individuals. 
Is there or is there not a common platform on which 
the members of a community, in spite of their discords, 
can all stand ? Is this common purpose the result or 
the condition of the "never-ceasing clash of wills"? 
Out of conflicting wills, not held together by some 
common ideal, social order can no more be evolved than 
can an orderly universe arise out of a fortuitous con- 
course of atoms. That there is such a thing as the 
inner spirit of a people, Professor Hobhouse will per- 
haps not deny. But this inner spirit, this ethos, is not 
an abstraction. Neither does it float in the air. It is 
incorporated in the laws, customs, usages and institu- 
tions of the people. Now, conceive of the outer laws 
and institutions as sustained and vitalised by the inner 
spirit and the inner spirit as externalised in the laws 
and institutions, think of them together as inseparable 
correlatives and you get the concrete whole which, 
regarded as exercising supreme authority over its mem- 
bers, is the state. It is not to be confused with an 
improvised association of men for the furtherance of 
some particular purpose. There may be any number 
of such special groups or associations, but there must 
be a supreme controlling power over them all. Life 
can go on because a harmony is maintained between 
these groups, and without the state within which these 
groups are comprised such a harmony cannot be 
maintained. Professor Hobhouse seems at times to 


understand by the state the Government or the state- 
organisation for the maintenance of law and order. So 
understood, it is, of course, ridiculous to say that the 
state is the embodiment of the general will. But 
thinkers like Hegel and Bosanquet mean by it the 
organised whole, the substantive reality on which our 
lives are founded, and not simply the government. 

One reason, perhaps the chief reason, of Professor 
Hobhouse's hostility to the idealistic theory of the state 
is his belief that it encourages the tendency to resist 
all proposals to reform and reconstruct society. If what 
is real is rational, all that we have got to do, it would 
seem, is to sing hosanna to the existing order of things. 
No man need make any effort to improve anything, for 
there is nothing to be improved. " His business is not 
to endeavour to remodel society, but to think how 
wonderfully good and rational is the social life that 
he knows, with its pharisees and publicans, its gin- 
palaces, its millions of young men led out to the 
slaughter, and he is to give thanks daily that he is a 
rational being and not merely as the brutes that perish " 
(Metaphysical Theory of the State, p. 87). But is the 
ideal a thing always to be realised and never actually 
realised, only to be pursued but never attained? If 
existing social and political arrangements are wholly 
devoid of reason, what guarantee is there that reason 
can ever be effective in the organisation of life? The 
truth is that the very distinction of what is and what 
ought to be is made possible by an all-inclusive rational 
order of which the present growing out of the past and 
leading to the future is only a phase. If by the real 
you mean only what is here and now, then, of course, 
as a mere section of the whole it is not completely 
j-ational; but if by it you mean the eternal order within 


which the distinction of past, present and future falls, 
then to question its rationality is absurd. The present 
social institutions are found wanting only in the light 
of the ideal which the working of these very institu- 
tions has been the means of awakening. It cannot, 
therefore, be separated from the actual, and is the actual 
in a more perfect form. Social order and social pro- 
gress are interdependent. The activities of the indi- 
vidual which really contribute to social order also con- 
tribute to social progress. And true conservatism is 
not possible without the liberal reforming spirit. It is 
only in exceptional circumstances that active rebellion 
against society becomes a painful necessity. If a society 
is progressive, if it undergoes necessary reforms, slowly 
perhaps but surely, then any member of it who im- 
patiently defies its authority and disregards its laws 
merely because they do not at once conform to what 
he thinks is the ideal, is, most assuredly, a bad man. 
On the other hand, to rebel against a fossilised society 
governed by laws as unchangeable as the laws of the 
Medes and Persians may be the only way open to the 
good man to be faithful to the requirements of the 
higher life. The rebel may sometimes be a benefactor 
to his country, but, as often as not, he is only a tur- 
bulent egotist passing for a patriot or an idealist. True 
patriotism is not the readiness to do something excep- 
tional. It is, as Bosanquet puts it, " the everyday habit 
of looking on the commonwealth as our substantive 
purpose and the foundation of our lives." 

If the common social mind or the general will is only 
a figment of the Hegelian philosopher's imagination, 
if the distinction between self and others is fundamental 
and irreducible, how is self-government possible? To 
this question Professor Hobhouse gives no answer. 


Unless it be true that from the point of view of the 
state the distinction between selves is transcended and 
that in being guided by the laws and institutions under 
which I live I am only fulfilling the necessary con- 
ditions of my own self-realisation, the authority im- 
posed upon me must be alien authority, even if I happen 
to be in entire agreement with those who impose that 
authority. I am obeying their will, not mine. Majority 
rule is not my rule, no matter whether those who form 
the majority be my kith and kin or not. Only on the 
Hegelian principle that the state " is the objective spirit 
and that [the individual] has his truth and existence 
and ethical status only in being a member of it," does 
self-government become intelligible. The general will, 
which is my own substantive will, being embodied in 
the institutions, the civil and political organisation of 
the community to which I belong, I, in submitting to 
them, am not determined by what is foreign to me but 
by something which, in the words of John Caird, " are 
more truly me than my private self." It is idle to 
attempt to create a prejudice against Hegel's theory 
by constantly repeating that he reduces the individual 
to nullity. He does nothing of the kind. On the 
contrary, he insists, in the strongest possible terms, on 
the importance of the individual. " The modern state," 
he writes, " has enormous strength and depth, in that 
it allows the principle of subjectivity to complete itself 
to an independent extreme of personal particularity, and 
yet at the same time brings it back into the substantive 
unity and thus preserves particularity in the principle 
of the state. ... It insists that the interests of the family 
and jivic community shall link themselves to the state, 
and yet is aware that the universal purpose can make 
no advance without the private knowledge and will of 


a particularity which must adhere to its right. The 
universal must be actively furthered, but, on the other 
side, subjectivity must be wholly and vitally developed. 
Only when both elements are present in force is the 
state to be regarded as articulate and truly organised " 
(Philosophy of Right, Dyde's Tr., p. 249). What 
Hegel opposes is licence, not liberty, the freedom of 
the individual to do what he is inclined to do, limited 
only by the like freedom of others, not his freedom 
to exercise all his powers for the furtherance of a 
common good. 

What Professor Hobhouse offers us is not the bread 
of self-government but only a stone. He seems to 
suppose that political freedom is attained if a man is 
allowed to express his views and to influence the policy 
of his country. " The claim of the free individual is 
not the impossible one that the common decision should 
coincide with his own, but that his decision should be 
heard and taken into account. He claims his part in 
the common councils, he takes his share of responsi- 
bility. In so far as he makes this claim effective he 
contributes to the common decision even though in a 
particular case it goes against him. He is free, not 
because the social will is his own, but because he has 
as much scape for expression as any one man can have 
if all are to have it and yet live and act together " 
(Metaphysical Theory of the State, p. 61). Is that all? 
Is the mere freedom to take part in discussions of public 
questions enough to satisfy my dgsire for self-govern- 
ment? The value of such freedom is precious little. 
The vote which a man records at an election does not 
materially affect the result. For his having the w vote 
no one is better or worse. Unless he is a Gladstone 
or a Disraeli, a Joseph Chamberlain or a Lloyd George, 


his influence in shaping the policy of his country is 
negligible. The average citizen knows this quite well. 
As Hegel says, " there is necessarily little desire to vote, 
because one vote has so slight an influence. Even when 
those who are entitled to vote are told how extremely 
valuable their privilege is, they do not vote. Hence 
occurs just the opposite of what is sought. The selec- 
tion passes into the hands of a few, a single party, or 
a special accidental interest." The essential thing in 
self-government is not that I have a hand in making 
the laws by which I am governed, but that they are 
reasonable, and, therefore, helpful to me in enabling 
me to fill a position for which I am fit and thereby to 
contribute to the common good. The demand that all 
should have a share in the business of the state involves 
the assumption that everyone understands this business. 
This assumption, Hegel truly says, " is as absurd as it, 
despite its absurdity, is widespread. " Self-government 
does not depend on the satisfaction of this demand. 
What it really means is the control of the particular 
self by the social universal expressed in the organisation 
of the state. To ignore the deeper unity underlying 
the difference of selves is to make self-government an 
enigma. Even when the common decision coincides 
with my own, I do not enjoy self-government for this 
reason alone. The common decision agrees with but 
is not my decision, and in being guided by it I am 
certainly not .^//-determined. 

Professor Hobhpuse takes Bosanquet to task for 
saying that as yet tlumanity as a single organised entity 
does not exist. This, he thinks, is tantamount to hos- 
tility to all projects of world-federation or a league of 
nations. But to affirm that, as matters stand to-day, 
there is no super-state to which the various states of the 


world are related as families and other groups of men 
within a state are related to it is not to say that such 
an organisation cannot come into being in the future. 
It all depends upon the possibility of the whole human 
race being able to discover points of agreement more 
fundamental and more numerous than points of differ- 
ence. It may be a good thing to cherish a humanitarian 
ideal, but let us not cherish illusions. The two dangers 
to be avoided are abstract cosmopolitanism and a 
narrow-minded nationalism. The would-be citizen of 
the world must remember that he has got to begin 
as a loyal citizen of a particular state, and the ardent 
nationalist, on his part, must not forget that the true 
ideal is to regard his state as only a unit in a possible 
confederacy of nations. But nothing will be gained by 
a fanatical advocacy of a league of nations. It is wise 
to recognise that no effective federation of the world 
is possible in the absence of something approaching a 
common view of life. " A partial agreement for certain 
purposes " is not sufficient. A few strong, efficient 
and highly organised empires maintaining the conditions 
of a good life and giving full scope to science, art, 
religion and philosophy are more likely to come 
together in an effective league than a large number of 
petty, unstable and discordant states. 



PROFESSOR JOHN WATSON, of Queen's University, 
Kingston, Canada, was one of the earliest and most 
distinguished pupils of Edward Caird. He is a very 
clear and forceful writer. His earliest work, Kant and 
His English Critics, now probably out of print, is a 
powerful defence of Kant's theory as interpreted by 
Caird against the hostile criticisms of various contem- 
porary writers. Of this book Green says that " it is 
written with clearness and precision " and that " anyone 
interested in the controversies to which it relates will 
be likely to have a better understanding of their 
essential bearing for their having read it." His later 
work, the Philosophy of Kant Explained, gives a very 
lucid account of Kant's doctrine, without particular 
reference to controversial issues. Professor Watson's 
constructive theory is set forth mainly in his Philo- 
sophical Basis of Religion, An Outline of Philosophy 
and the Interpretation of Religious Experience. He 
acknowledges his great indebtedness to Hegel and his 
English exponents, but is careful to point out that " if 
the Philosophy of Hegel, as Lotze holds, is simply a 
panlogism; or if its fundamental principle is an abstract 
ancj indeterminate absolute; or if it denies all freedom 
to man, and regards him as but the passive organ of 
an underlying Something not ourselves; then ... it 



is widely different from the view I have tried to 
express." Professor Watson does not think that the 
type of idealism which he advocates is open to the 
objection that it has been superseded by certain recent 
systems " which in principle belong to an earlier stage 
of thought." 

The central idea of Professor Watson's philosophy 
is that the universe is rational through and through and 
that in its essential features it is capable of being com- 
prehended by our intelligence. The particular facts of 
experience, of which empiricism makes so much, depend 
for their possibility on the unity and intelligibility of 
the world. In them the whole or the rational system 
which it denies is involved. The rationality of the 
universe means that it is an absolute unity and not a 
mere aggregate of particulars. The units of an aggre- 
gate are separate and independent, but the component 
elements of the universe are " so adapted to one another 
as to be incapable of existing apart, so that to remove 
any single element would be to destroy the whole." 
The one unified system of things includes within itself 
all the particular facts that it unifies. This means that 
the unity is differentiated into distinguishable elements. 
" To be a real unity the universe must, therefore, have 
two aspects* it must be absolutely one, and it must 
be absolutely many." These aspects are correlative. As 
a self- differentia ted unity beyond which there can be 
nothing, the universe is absolutely perfect. This does 
not mean that it is changeless. On the contrary, it 
manifests itself without losing its unity in an infinity 
of changes, in each of which it is equally perfect. And, 
lastly, as an all-embracing unity of differences, the jmi- 
verse is a coherent system. "Every element in the 
whole must be related to every other; so that any change 


in one element will involve a correspondent change 
in all." 

Such a conception of the real is, of course, far 
removed from the immediate appearance of things. At 
first sight, the world appears to be a vast assemblage 
of independent objects bearing no relationship to one 
another, except that of existing together in space and 
time. For the being of each the being of others does 
not seem to be necessary. It is therefore naturally sup- 
posed that whatever relations are found to subsist be- 
tween things are wholly external to them and are the 
outcome of our act of comparison. Things are simply 
presented to the apprehending subject without it 
making any sort of contribution to their nature. The 
act of experiencing makes no difference whatever to 
the fact experienced. The mind that knows is external 
to the thing that is known, just as one thing is external 
to another thing. And God also is conceived as an 
infinite being lying outside the world of His creation. 
How can all things come from God and yet have a 
separate existence, how with the world opposed to Him 
as an independent reality it is possible for God to be 
infinite, it is not considered. The element of truth 
in this realistic way of viewing things is that it refuses 
to reduce them to mere ideas of the mind. The objects 
of knowledge are neither mere groups of sensations, 
as Hume, Mill and others suppose, nor sensations 
reduced to order and coherence through their subjection 
to the categories, as Kant maintains. They have a 
reality of their own quite apart from the subjective 
states of particular individuals. To say this, however, 
is not to say that things exist independently of mind. 
They are no doubt opposed to mind, but the opposition 
is relative, not absolute, made possible by a unity that 


transcends the opposition. " To distinguish an object 
from himself, the subject must comprehend within his 
embrace both himself and the object. 55 The world, as 
realism rightly insists, is in no way dependent upon 
the changing states of particular minds, but it does not 
follow from this that it is composed of self-subsistent 
and isolated particulars. The nature of things depends 
upon their relation to one another. It is as connected 
elements of a single whole that they are real. The 
mistake of realism is to suppose that each thing has an 
independent being of its own. But, on reflection, we 
discover that it gets its character from its relations to 
others and that all finite things exist by virtue of their 
reciprocal determination of one another. This means 
that they are not mere parts of a mechanical whole but 
distinguishable elements of a veritable unity which must 
be conceived as spiritual. Apart from this unity finite 
things and finite minds are impossible, but as consti- 
tuent elements of it organically related to one another, 
they are real and necessary. " The one and only per- 
fectly self-dependent, self -active and self -differentiat- 
ing unity must be self-conscious, not because it is 
isolated or independent either in existence or in 
knowledge, but because it manifests its nature in all 
modes of ^ being, and most fully in and to man 55 
(Interpretation of Religious Experience, Vol. II., 
p. 52). 

From the truth that things are not the ideas of the 
finite mind, realism draws the false conclusion that they 
are therefore unrelated to and independent of mind. 
If the world exists independently of the subject, truth 
can only mean the correspondence of ideas to facts. f But 
it is meaningless to speak of ideas copying facts when 
between the two there is no sort of affinity whatever. 


Truth no doubt implies correspondence, but the cor- 
respondence is not between mind and a reality indepen- 
dent of it, but between our judgments and "reality 
as it is present in the mind that has penetrated to its 
actual nature." The correspondence theory in its ordi- 
nary form is based upon the assumption of a dualism 
between the ideas of the mind and the things whose 
copies they are supposed to be. But " the simplest form 
of experience involves the indissoluble identity of con- 
sciousness with its object. There are not two things 
an idea of sensation as Locke calls it, and a sensible 
object but what is called an idea of sensation is simply 
the consciousness of a sensible object, and the sensible 
object is inseparable from that consciousness " (Interpre- 
tation of Religious Experience, Vol. II., p. 69). Subjec- 
tive idealism misinterprets this truth and resolves things 
into sensations. The objective world is supposed to be 
evolved out of them through their being brought under 
certain universal principles of connection. But out of 
mere subjective states a stable and coherent world of 
objects can never grow. So far from objectivity being 
developed from sensations, sensations are real only as 
they are referred to objects. The error of realism is 
to separate objects from ideas; the error of subjective 
idealism is to reduce objects to ideas. Both fail to per- 
ceive that " object and subject imply each other, and 
therefore they are distinctions within a whole, which 
manifests itself in both, though not in both equally. 
If by object we mean whatever is determined as spatial 
and temporal, and by subject whatever is conscious, the 
object is a less determinate form of reality than the 
subject, because the former involves abstraction from 
the subject, while the latter by its very nature includes 
the object, while at the same time distinguishing it from 


itself" (Interpretation of Religious Experience, Vol. II., 
p. 82). 

In Professor Watson's method of showing that the 
only conception of the real which is finally satisfying 
is that of a universal mind realised in the world-system, 
the influence of Hegel's Phenomenology of Mind is 
plainly discernible. Like Hegel, he argues that the 
notion that reality is presented to us in sensible experi- 
ence is untenable. The impressions of the moment are 
fleeting and cannot vouch for the existence of anything 
more durable than they. It no doubt seems to be the 
case that what is here and now before me is the real, 
but the here and now of this moment is not the here 
and now of the next moment. Sense experience is 
continually slipping from our grasp, and though it 
means the universal it is unable to lay hold of it. The 
universal which it misses is attained in perception, but 
it is the universal of sense. 

For perception the real is what is permanent in the 
sensible. The impressions of sense point to things 
which do not perish like them. In perceiving the 
object before me I have certain passing impressions, 
but they refer to a reality which persists. The per- 
ceived object is a unity of various qualities. These 
qualities co-exist, because they belong to one and the 
same thing. But what is the relation between the 
thing and its qualities? It is meaningless apart from 
the qualities, and yet the qualities depend for their 
existence upon it. They being different from one 
another, there is no reason why they should be grouped 
together. Each is quite indifferent to the others, and 
yet their very isolation means their relation to one 
another. What is completely isolated is absolutely 
indeterminate and therefore a nonentity. The differ- 


ence of perceived objects, again, implies their unity, 
but of the nature of this unity perception gives no 
hint. Perception, we thus see, raises problems which 
it is unable to solve. " The mind cannot be satisfied 
with anything short of a reality which is all-compre- 
hensive and perfectly coherent." At the level of per- 
ception we do not get it. This does not mean that 
perception has no truth, but that its point of view is 
not final. The contradictions inherent in it force us 
to seek for a more adequate way of comprehending 
the world. 

The real must be an all-inclusive, coherent and self- 
consistent whole. The world of perception is not such 
a whole, but a mere aggregate of independent objects. 
The conception of it as one, although composed of 
things bearing only accidental relations to one another, 
is self- contradictory. In order to avoid the incon- 
sistency we may be led to distinguish reality from 
appearance, and to suppose that while the latter is full 
of contradictions the former is not so. But it is 
impossible to maintain a rigid distinction between 
appearance and reality. As everything determinate is 
appearance, all that we can say of reality is that it is. 
A predicate-less entity, however, is only an abstraction. 
Reality is not beyond its appearances, but is in them 
and is qualified by them. It is their perfect and 
systematic unity. 

The distinction between law and phenomena is a 
particular form of the dualism between reality and 
appearance. If for perception things are unrelated or 
only accidentally related, for understanding they are 
subject to universal and necessary laws. These laws, 
however, are apt to be viewed as externally imposed 
upon things. "But a law is not accidental to the 


world; it is a living and active principle, without which 
the world could not exist." Laws, rightly viewed, are 
constant relations between the elements of an orderly 
system. They are inseparable from these elements. 
The perceptual consciousness eliminates from things 
their necessary relations to one another and regards 
them as merely juxtaposed in space. To this is due 
its insufficiency and contradiction. Understanding "lifts 
perception to a higher plane, not by dropping its dis- 
tinctions, but by reinterpreting them, i.e. by bringing 
them under laws." The reign of law in the universe 
signifies that it is a unified system. " Now, every law 
of nature is a form of energy, and therefore the whole 
body of laws is a differentiation of the one unchange- 
able energy. Hence law is not something imposed 
upon objects by the understanding, it is the recognition 
of the essential nature of things." 

When the universe is explicitly realised as the 
unity of organically related elements, we pass from 
the standpoint of understanding to that of reason. 
The relational way of thinking gives place to the 
mind's grasp of the whole. In the eye of reason all 
things as essentially related to one another are at 
bottom one. The unity of the world is the counter- 
part of the mind's unity with itself. Objects co-exist 
in one space because they are necessarily related to one 
another, and they are related to one another because 
they are the manifestation of a spiritual principle of 
unity. Self- consciousness is " the supreme principle, 
not merely of the world of experience, but of all reality. 
Without the consciousness of self, tacit or explicit, there 
is no world of objects; and therefore in self-conscyous- 
ness we have the prius of all knowable reality." 

" Reflection, in its highest form," concludes Professor 


Watson, "recognises that finite and infinite have no 
reality in separation from each other; in other words, 
that the infinite is the absolute unity presupposed in 
the finite, and the finite the expression of the inex- 
haustible energy and self-determination of the infinite; 
or, to express the same idea in theological terms, God, 
so far from being unknowable or indefinable, is infinitely 
determinate and manifests himself in all that has been, 
is, or will be " (Interpretation of Religious Experience, 
Vol. II. , pp. 101-102). 

Although self-conscious individuals are parts of the 
world, they are also universal, for the sustaining prin- 
ciple of their lives is the reason which is expressed 
in the world. There is no such thing as isolated 
individuality. I am a self-conscious being not in my 
separateness, but in virtue of the universal self that is 
manifested in me and in my fellow-beings. Particular 
selves, therefore, are in indissoluble fellowship with each 
other, and can realise themselves as moral beings only 
in so far as they subordinate themselves to a whole 
that transcends them. The moral life is essentially 
social in its nature. "Thus there is no opposition 
between egoism and altruism, such as is sometimes 
affirmed. To realise myself I must attain that which 
is best for all other selves as well." Society, no doubt, 
cannot be without individuals, but neither can indi- 
viduals be without society. It is as active selves 
contributing to the common good by subordinating 
nature to their ends and converting its resources into 
instruments of spirit that men are moral beings. 
Spiritual life therefore is based on the natural and 
cannot be independent of it. " There is but one life, 
the spiritual, since in it the natural is transformed and 
thus obtains a new meaning." 


Professor Watson regards religion as the basis and 
presupposition of morality. The moral ideal is realis- 
able because it is the expression in our consciousness 
of the deepest nature of things. That which from our 
point of view in the temporal order is something to 
be, is, in the eternal order, the real nature of exist- 
ence. Moral struggle and progress is possible because 
the universe is the embodiment of spirit. It is the 
Absolute spirit in us that urges us on to be actually 
what potentially we are. Morality therefore completes 
itself in religion, of which the essence is the identi- 
fication of the finite spirit with the infinite spirit. The 
religious consciousness raises us above the trials and 
tribulations of finitude into the serenity of life in the 
eternal. It does not exclude morality, but contains it 
as a necessary element of itself. It gives us the assur- 
ance of the triumph of goodness without any relaxation 
of the struggle which morality implies. The individual 
has the conviction that in his fight with evil he is 
bound to win, because he is a co-worker with God. 
Religion cannot be resolved into morality; it is not 
morality " touched with emotion." Nor is it a distinct 
kind of experience externally added to morality. It 
is the transfiguration of the whole of life arising 
from man's consciousness of his oneness with God. 
It " touches life at every point." 

As to the relation between God, nature and man, 
Professor Watson points out that the two errors to 
be avoided are making their distinction absolute and 
obliterating their distinction. Pantheism either identi- 
fies God with the world or reduces the world to nullity. 
Mysticism completely merges man in God, while deism 
conceives of Him as extra-mundane. They all fail to 
realise th^t nature^ man and God are inseparable ele- 


ments of a single whole. Mysticism does not see that 
to view human life from the standpoint of the Absolute 
spirit is not to make it disappear in the Absolute spirit. 
It is true that the religious consciousness involves the 
unity of man and God, but it is a unity that does 
not exclude but presupposes their relative difference. 
In being conscious of God, who is his own deeper 
self, man does not lose his consciousness of himself. 
On the contrary, he must distinguish himself from 
God if he is to realise his oneness with Him. 

Deism commits the opposite mistake. It supposes 
that God is related to the world as its arbitrary creator, 
and does not see that nature and man cannot be separate 
from Him and yet be dependent upon Him for their 
existence. Nor can God be external to the world and 
yet infinite. If the world has an independent being 
of its own, it inevitably limits Him from outside. 
Creation out of nothing is an impossibility, and is 
incompatible with the idea of an infinite being. The 
truth which it imperfectly expresses is that the existence 
of God is involved in the existence of the world. 
" The creation of the world only has meaning when 
it is interpreted as signifying the eternal self- mani- 
festation of God." For the idea of creation and 
external design we must substitute the deeper notion 
of a world in whose very being purpose, order and 
system are immanent. The idea of creation is speci- 
ally inappropriate in its application to man. To speak 
of man as made by God as a table is made by a 
carpenter is absurd. He can be said to be created only 
in the sense that God is " immanent in him, and that 
in such a way that he is only truly himself when he 
realises the purpose of God." 

" The ordinary deistic or dualistic viw of 


relation of nature, man and God," Professor Watson 
holds, " must be replaced by a doctrine which, instead 
of conceiving them as separate spheres only accidentally 
and arbitrarily related to one another, maintains that 
they are so intimately connected as to be unintelligible 
apart from one another." If they are conceived as 
separate and mutually exclusive entities, it is impossible 
to bring them together in any intelligible manner. To 
avoid this difficulty it may be sought to reduce them 
to one. Nature, it may be said, is alone real, and 
everything else is derived from it. Exactly the opposite 
method is to deny to nature an independent being 
and to resolve it into the experiences of finite minds. 
And, lastly, both nature and man may be regarded as 
either illusions or evanescent modes of God. All these 
theories are agreed that reality must be one, the only 
question being what the nature of this unity is. The 
view most prevalent, in scientific circles at any rate, 
is perhaps naturalism. Everything in our experience, 
according to it, is reducible to "a mechanical system 
of mass points that undergo transpositions in space." 
Between science and naturalism, however, there is no 
necessary connection. For the purposes of science, it 
may be necessary to abstract from all the aspects of 
things except their quantitative relations, but it does 
not follow from this that they are nothing but quanti- 
tative relations. Out of abstract quantity the great 
variety of qualitative differences cannot arise. And 
when we deal with life and mind we need higher 
conceptions than those of mass, motion and energy. 
Naturalism " confuses the proposition that there are 
no living processes without mechanism with the very 
different proposition that living processes are notning 
but mechanism." The element of truth in it is that 


it denies that there is any principle of life independent 
of mechanism. A soul separate from the body and 
only externally connected with it is a fiction. But the 
fundamental error of naturalism is to suppose that 
what is only an element of life is the whole. As there 
is no life without mechanism, so there is no mechanism 
without life. " The mechanical system expresses that 
constancy in the system of energies by which the world 
is characterised, while the principle of life is the inform- 
ing principle without which that system would have 
no meaning, and indeed could not even exist " (Inter- 
pretation of Religious Experience, Vol. II., p. 158). 
Life implies mechanism, but this mechanism cannot 
have an independent existence. " It is merely the arti- 
ficial isolation of what actually obtains only within a 

The conclusion that the world is not a mere 
mechanical system is strengthened if we take into 
consideration the relation of body and mind. Per- 
sistent efforts have been made to explain mind on 
mechanical principles, but without avail. According 
to epiphenomenalism, the movements and changes 
which take place in a living organism are governed 
by the laws of mechanism. Conscious states are only 
by-products of brain processes and have no influence 
whatever on them. In the words of Huxley, with 
whose name epiphenomenalism is chiefly associated, our 
mental states " are simply symbols in consciousness of 
the changes that take place automatically in the organ- 
ism." On this view there is no such thing as activity 
of mind. All molecular movements in the brain being 
determined, spontaneity in the corresponding psychical 
process is impossible. Self- activity is absolutely ex- 
cluded. And as " no body can receive any energy but 


that which is imparted to it by another body, or impart 
energy to another body without itself losing an equi- 
valent amount/ 5 in the physical series also there can 
be no self- activity. But if there be no activity either 
in mind or in body, how can the former be regarded 
as a product of the latter ? No direct relation between 
them is possible, and " each is left confronting the other 
in abrupt antagonism." We are thus led to the view 
known as psycho-physical parallelism. 

Proceeding to discuss this theory, Professor Watson 
points out that if the physical series is parallel to the 
mental series, it is impossible to explain how, being 
limited to the mental series, it is possible for us to 
apprehend physical facts. Between the two series a 
gulf is fixed, and it is impossible to cross over from 
the one to the other. For whom are the two series 
parallel to each other? To say that they correspond 
to each other is to have a knowledge of both, and a 
knowledge of both is only possible if there is a wider 
principle within which they are embraced. Both of 
them must belong to the same universe. To meet this 
difficulty psycho-physical parallelism assumes that body 
and mind are phenomenal appearances of a reality of 
which we have no knowledge. But " a reality that 
lies beyond knowledge, and yet unites two mutually 
exclusive series of phenomena without possessing any- 
thing identical with either, is a conception so utterly 
self- contradictory that it can only secure adhesion so 
long as we think loosely and vaguely." The parallel- 
istic theory is on the right course in so far as it seeks 
to reduce diverse phenomena to an ultimate principle 
of unity. But this unity must be conceived as the 
unity of conscious experience, and not as an unknown 
X lying beyond all knowledge. Body and mind, in 


short, are opposed aspects of self-conscious experience. 
Mind can distinguish itself from body, because it is 
also the unity that overreaches the distinction. " Mind 
embraces both itself and body. 55 The view to which 
psycho-physical parallelism obscurely points is that 
reality in its last interpretation is an all-inclusive mind 
within which distinctions of every kind, including that 
of mind and body, fall. It is not an unknown and 
unknowable something manifested in the parallel series 
of psychical and physical phenomena, but a self-con- 
scious subject that realises itself by opposing itself as 
subject to itself as object. 

We are thus driven to the conclusion that mind is 
the only reality. But " mind in its perfection is found 
only in God, who must be conceived as the fully 
developed or Absolute Mind. 55 Although all idealistic 
systems are agreed that the universe must be inter- 
preted in terms of mind, there is much difference of 
opinion about the question whether the mind which 
is the supreme principle of existence is individual or 
universal. According to personal idealism, reality con- 
sists of God and the finite minds. The latter, although 
they depend for their existence on God, are neverthe- 
less separate from Him and live an independent self- 
active life. God is immanent in them, but He is also 
distinct from them, and in so far as He is so, He is 
limited, although the limitation is self- limitation. The 
world exists in the mind of God, and is known by 
us only piecemeal in so far as we have experience 
analogous to His. "The universe is composed of 
finite minds and the omniscient mind of God. 55 The 
life of the finite being is " impervious even to God 
Himlelf, 55 and because of this the freedom and moral 
responsibility of man are not destroyed. 


So far as personal idealism denies that there is a 
material world independent of mind its position is 
strong and unassailable. If from the object its relation 
to the mind is removed nothing remains. But because 
uncognised reality is a fiction, it does not follow that 
the objects of knowledge are created by the knowing 
mind. The subject no more creates the object than 
it is the product of the object. One factor of experi- 
ence cannot be the cause of another factor. The error 
that the subject makes the object is the counterpart 
of the error that it is the product of the object. 
Experience is a whole involving the correlativity of 
subject and object. What a particular subject appre- 
hends does not owe its existence to but is only recog- 
nised by him. The nature of everything is determined 
by its relations to the whole world. It is neither a 
thing-in-itself nor the product of the activity of any 
finite mind, but a component element of the universe 
in which the Absolute Mind is realised. Finite minds 
therefore, as personal idealism holds, cannot be separate 
from God and from one another. They all belong to 
a single spiritual universe as its organic members. 

With personal idealism, the theistic position is in- 
compatible. If each self-conscious being is so isolated 
from others that it is incapable of being in any way 
affected by them, there is no way of passing beyond 
it to God. The individual subject is so completely 
shut up within himself that there can be no reason for 
affirming the existence of any being other than himself. 
Solipsism is the logical consequence of pluralism. If 
theism is true, the pluralism which personal idealism 
implies must be abandoned. In order to be consistent, 
pluralism must be atheistic. To start from thl self- 
subsistent many and then to go on to maintain the 


being of the one while still retaining the mutual 
exclusiveness of the many is a manifest contradiction. 
The truth is that plurality without unity is impossible. 
Different things exist together in one world because 
they are elements in a system which is a self-conscious 
and self- determining unity. 

In opposition to personal idealism, Professor Watson 
holds that the " world is not an aggregate of separate 
subjects, each confined to its own experience, and that 
no conscious subjects are possible which do not genu- 
inely participate in the life of the whole." But it is 
very important, he points out, that "we should not 
fall into the opposite mistake of viewing the world 
as a unity which completely abolishes all individual 
subjects, by reducing them to phenomenal aspects of 
a single unity in which they are transformed or trans- 
muted we know not how." It is true that there is 
nothing which is not embraced within experience, but 
experience is not a unity that cancels all distinctions. 
The Absolute experience does not suppress the indi- 
viduals, but is " a spiritual or organic whole " in which 
they retain their individuality and freedom. God is 
not a being among other beings, nor is He an all- 
comprehensive unity in such a way as to absorb all 
finite subjects into Himself. He is " the inner prin- 
ciple of the finite, and he cannot be in the physical 
world alone, or in the conscious world alone, but he 
must be in both." Into the elements of the world- 
system the Absolute Mind is differentiated. That 
being so, the merging of finite beings in the Absolute 
is impossible. God is immanent in nature, but is more 
completely revealed in our self-conscious life. Man 
does not disappear in God, but God appears more and 
more fully in man as he grows in knowledge and 


morality. Finite as we are, we are capable of rising 
above the limitations of time and space and of grasping 
the principle of unity from which everything that is 
has come. The finite and the infinite are in inseparable 
union with each other. It is one and the same reality 
that is finite in one aspect and infinite in another. The 
true life of the individual is life in the whole, and 
this means the broadening and deepening of it, not 
its extinction. " So far from it being true that in the 
intuition of God all distinctions vanish away, the very 
reverse is true; for it is by referring all things to God 
that we learn what a depth of meaning may lie in 
the globule of dew or the c flower in the crannied 
wall.' " 

Professor Watson thinks that only from the point 
of view of a monism of the right sort the problem of 
evil can be solved. Deism, naturalism and absolutism 
all fail to account for the presence of evil in the world. 
If God is the creator and governor of the universe, 
how is it that pain, suffering and sin exist in it ? What 
comes from the hand of an infinitely wise, powerful 
and merciful being cannot be full of evils. Premature 
death, painful diseases, storms, floods, earthquakes, 
famines, devastating wars, and such other things seem 
to be irreconcilable with the view that the world is the 
creation of a perfect and loving God. In the case of 
man, in consequence of his power to remember and 
anticipate things, "a kind of eternity is given to the 
sufferings that otherwise would be momentary." In 
human history, again, it is hard to find evidence of 
the sway of reason. " In Hannibal do we not see c the 
baffled heroism of an extinguished country, and yi the 
victims of an Alva the fruitless martyrdom of a crushed 
faith ' ? Can anyone believe in the wisdom which 


allowed the rude soldiery of Macedon to trample upon 
the civilisation of Greece? Was the triumph of the 
Barbarian over imperial Rome a triumph of reason? 
In the presence of the ruthless slaughter of St. Bar- 
tholomew's night can we retain our faith in the watchful 
providence of a compassionate God ? " 

These difficulties have been sought to be removed 
in various ways. Naturalism regards pain and pleasure, 
good and evil, as the inevitable products of the in- 
violable laws by which the world is governed, while 
absolutism looks upon them as but appearances that 
vanish from the highest point of view. Others again 
think of untying the knot by limiting the power of 
God or by attributing the origin of evil to the devil. 
None of these theories, in Professor Watson's view, 
is defensible. Evil is not the mere absence of good, 
nor is its connection with the universe external and 
arbitrary. It is the outcome of the finitude of a being 
that is in its deepest nature infinite. The root of evil 
lies in the finite-infinite nature of man. It consists 
in the individual seeking his good in narrow and cir- 
cumscribed ends incompatible with his universal nature. 
Whatever arrests the movement of the finite spirit 
towards infinitude is evil. "The distinction between 
a good and a bad act is that between a self which 
seeks for self-realisation in accordance with the rational 
nature and one which wills a self that is irrational." 
The man who opposes his selfish purposes to the 
common good, furthers the interests of his individual 
self at the expense of the social self, acts in an evil 
manner. Not only so, but in the evolution of man's 
spiritual nature any lower stage is evil in comparison 
with* the higher. " Evil, therefore, is not the abstract 
opposite of good, but a lower stage of good." If it 


were not the case that in our finite lives the one infinite 
self-conscious being progressively realises itself, there 
would be no distinction between the ideal and the 
actual, the higher and the lower, and no moral evil. 
It is because man is capable of infinite goodness that 
it is possible for him to do evil. " A being who was 
absolutely evil would have no consciousness of evil, 
because he would have no consciousness df good." 

How is the suppression of evil possible? How can 
we pass from it to good ? The answer which Professor 
Watson gives to this question is that by only realising 
the ideal of life in the whole, as distinguished from 
a life of selfish isolation, can evil be overcome. In 
the person of Christ we find this ideal realised, and 
" in devotion and love for this concrete realisation of 
the ideal may be found the living principle by which 
the evil of human nature can be transcended." When 
man is permeated by the spirit of Christ, he is lifted 
above his finite individuality and made one with God. 
In this consists the atonement of evil. The doctrine 
of incarnation, rightly understood, " brings to light the 
divine element which is involved in the nature of man, 
and the human element inseparable from the nature of 
God." God and man are not to be regarded as mutu- 
ally exclusive of each other. They, in spite of their 
distinction, are one. Identity is not abstract self- same- 
ness. In the soul of every man God is present as its 
oversoul and its informing spirit. It is "by realising 
in his life the self- communicating spirit of God" that 
man can conquer evil. Its atonement means " identi- 
fication with the principle of goodness, a complete 
surrender of the soul to God, renunciation of all selfish 
interests, and the persistent endeavour after the ideal 
of the perfect life." 


Such self- surrender to God is not possible through 
the unaided efforts of the individual. It is only in 
a community in which men are banded together and 
help one another in the struggle against evil that the 
divine spirit is actively present. The religious life is 
the " realisation in a community or church of the divine 
spirit." This church is not any particular organisation, 
but " the true or invisible church, as composed of all 
who aid in the never-ceasing warfare of good with 
evil." Evil cannot be conquered, the higher life cannot 
be attained, without the combined efforts of all men. 
The process of man's civilisation is the process of his 
spiritualisation. The activities which spring from the 
desire to satisfy natural wants gradually lead, because 
of the silent working in him of the spirit of Christ, 
to the formation of family, society and the state. The 
institutions of society and the state " free him from 
the tyranny of his immediate impulses and make him 
a member of a whole larger than his individual self. 35 
Trade and commerce, science and art, literature and 
philosophy are developed in increasing measure within 
this whole. If it is asked, "where is religion in all 
this development of secular interests? we must answer: 
not here or there, and not in any transcendent region 
beyond the world, but now and everywhere. Religion 
is life in the spirit, and the spirit specialises itself in 
all the agencies which tend to uplift humanity." 



SIR HENRY JONES, like Professor Watson, was a dis- 
tinguished student of Edward Caird, of whom he 
speaks with reverence as " a very great teacher, one 
of the profoundest teachers of Philosophy given to 
the world in modern times." He succeeded Caird as 
Professor of Moral Philosophy in the University of 
Glasgow on the latter's appointment as Master of 
Balliol in 1892. "The burden of the trust," says he, 
"was almost beyond bearing; for the daily life of 
Edward Caird was even more flawless in its wisdom 
and peace than his doctrine." But in spite of this 
diffidence, he filled the position with great distinction 
for many years, and worthily maintained the traditions 
of the chair vacated by his illustrious predecessor. " A 
great teacher," says Professor G. Dawes Hicks, a Henry 
Jones undoubtedly was, a teacher who possessed the 
rare gift of being able to make his subject attractive 
without becoming superficial. . . . He was a subtle 
and penetrative thinker, and he had a keen theo- 
retical interest in the investigation of scientific and 
philosophical problems" (Hibbert Journal, Vol. XX., 

In his version of idealism, Sir Henry Jones is careful 
to avoid two common errors that of opposing thought 
to reality and that of reducing reality to mere thought. 



In his criticism of Lotzd lie points out that to make 
thought and reality antithetical to each other is to 
render knowledge inexplicable. For knowledge im- 
plies that the operations of thought correspond to the 
actual phases of reality. If reality stood apart from 
thought, how could thought be sure of its own truth? 
How could it even know that there is any such thing 
as reality ? Without abandoning the dualism of thought 
and reality, it is impossible to give a rational explana- 
tion of knowledge. Thought is not a subjective process 
added ab extra to reality. It is the self- comprehension 
of reality itself. Idealism, Sir Henry Jones maintains, 
" conceives that in all his thinking, however inade- 
quate it may be, man thinks of objects. But it refuses 
to define these objects in such a manner as to make 
the problem of thinking them insoluble; that is to say, 
it denies the ordinary assumption that reality implies 
the exclusion of the ideal. It finds that knowledge 
is the self- revelation of reality in thought, and that 
our thought is the instrument of that self- revelation " 
(Philosophy of Lotze, p. 370). It is a mistake to 
think that the mind knows its objects through the 
medium of ideas. Between it and the objects that 
are known no world of ideas intervenes. In percep- 
tion as well as in thought the mind deals directly with 
its objects. In and through its processes the world 
interprets itself. 

Such a view is not to be confused with subjective 
idealism. The mutual implication of thought and 
reality does not mean the reduction of the latter to 
the former. Their difference is as essential as their 
unity. The error of dualism is not to insist upon 
this difference but to make it absolute. In knowledge 
they are no doubt opposed to each other, but only as 


complementary aspects of the same thing. "Mind is 
not except in relation to its object, neither is the object 
except in relation to the subject. The dependence is 
interdependence, and the real is never only one of its 
aspects. It is neither natural nor spiritual if these 
are considered apart" (Philosophy of Lotze y p. 164). 
Sir Henry Jones is not a whit less zealous than the 
most ardent realist in proclaiming the reality of the 
world. All that he maintains is that the real is also 
ideal, and that idealism is true because it vindicates 
the reality of the world. 

Like so many other idealists of his school, Sir Henry 
Jones has no faith in a philosophy that has no concern 
with the practical affairs of life. If idealism, he insists, 
is to find acceptance among sober men, it must prove 
its effectiveness as a practical creed; it must show that 
it can " stand the strain of a nation's practice." A 
philosophical theory which is not closely connected with 
life and is of no use to us in interpreting the facts of 
life is but a barren thing. The truth to which Sir 
Henry Jones expects philosophy to open our eyes is 
thus stated by him in the closing words of his address 
to the Australian people : " Material prosperity you will 
attain, I have no doubt; and it is worth attaining. 
Perhaps power, among the nations of the world awaits 
you, which also is worth attaining. But a kingdom 
founded upon righteousness, a life amongst yourselves 
sanctified in all its ways by this faith in man, in the 
world and in God, is greater far than all these things " 
(Idealism as a Practical Creed, p. 298). 

Sir Henry Jones's lectures delivered before the Uni- 
versity of Sydney, entitled Idealism as a Practical Creed, 
open with the observation that no people, however 
much it may be absorbed in practical pursuits, can 


altogether dispense with philosophical reflection, for to 
think is the nature of man. He quotes with approval 
Hegel's famous words in which he says that there is 
nothing in the universe which can withstand the power 
of mind. Without living a life of thought it is im- 
possible to live well. "There is a most true sense 
in which the great things of life must be sought first 
and all other things only as addenda and secondary 

The concern of philosophy is with the world within, 
" the world in which ideals are the only powers." It 
is not to be conceived as a system of abstract thoughts 
only, but " as the^experience of the world becoiuing 
reflective and endeavouring to comprehend itself." As 
such it is intimately connected with life. The task of 
self- comprehension is not one which man can at will 
take up or leave alone. At a certain stage of his 
evolution he cannot help being reflective. " The future 
can be faced only in the light of the past which only 
reflection recovers; and the individual or a nation can 
achieve a new triumph only if it has learned the lessons 
of its own deeds." In the thoughts and actions of 
great men, the dominating ideas of their age find 
effective expression and become the means of carrying 
the progress of the world a stage further. The dis- 
tinctive feature of human life is that it is not swayed 
by blind impulses only but is guided and controlled 
by ideas, and it is ideas, after all, that rule the world. 
To set them free, to make them the object of clear 
comprehension, is the function of the philosopher. 

The expansion of life under the guidance of ideas 
is the process of its attaining freedom. The idea of 
freedom is not simple and its meaning is not intelli- 
gible unless we study the nature of man in the light 


of his relation to the world and to his fellows. It is 
the process of its growth that reveals its nature. What 
it truly is is clearly seen only in the final stage of its 
evolution. In the beginning of social as well as of 
individual life, freedom is scarcely detectible. Man is 
then immersed in nature and is completely subject to 
the authority of society. He is moulded and fashioned 
by the ideas of his time and has nothing that he can 
call his own. " The general life flows around him like 
the deep sea and fills the shell of his spirit to over- 
flowing." The authority of traditions and customs, 
however, is not opposed to reason. It is a mistake 
to think that while authority "lays deep the founda- 
tions of social life and cements its superstructure," 
reasoning only divides and disintegrates. The tradition 
of to-day is the result of the rational activities of 
yesterday. It has been built up from the conscious 
and purposeful activities of countless men and is the 
embodiment of the collective reason of the past. 
Reason is disintegrating only when its exercise is in- 
adequate. When people reason well they are united 
in the pursuit of common ends and are able to make 
tradition " live again in the individual's thought and 
will." The beliefs and customs which are at first 
tamely accepted are by and by subjected to criticism 
and their legitimacy begins to be questioned. The 
conscience of the individual is opposed to the authority 
of society and the state. This negative attitude is apt 
to be mistaken for freedom. It has value not because 
it is in itself satisfying but because it leads to a better 
ordering of society, because it heralds a wider good 
than is embodied in existing institutions. From a 
spirit of mere negation nothing great has ever come. 
The true reformer, as distinguished from the young 


and inexperienced enthusiast who "like the puppy 
dog must tear things to pieces while he is teething," 
does not seek to overturn the old order and to estab- 
lish something absolutely new in its place. u He 
battles for the ideal which is already in the world, 
and against the accidental forms which cramp it. He 
is not less but more loyal than his fellows; and he 
chastises because he loves." 

Nevertheless, the attitude of the reformer involves 
an element of negation, and in so far as it is so there 
necessarily ensues a conflict between him and his com- 
munity. The freedom of the individual is proclaimed 
and the question of his relation to the outer powers 
is raised. This critical spirit is fatal to a corporate 
life lived only instinctively. The consciousness of the 
primacy of individuality shatters the framework of a 
community like the Greek city-state held together by 
the natural impulse of comradeship only. Old ties 
and loyalties are cast off, and the tendency of the 
individual is to go his own way unmindful of the 
objective order. But the outer order against which the 
individual is in revolt cannot be got rid of. In it he 
is rooted, and from it he draws the nourishment of 
his spiritual life. Without the laws and institutions 
which he wants to demolish, he would be not a human 
being at all but only an animal. The inner freedom 
of the individual must be recognised, but it has got 
to be reconciled with the authority of society and the 
state. The freedom which consists merely in emanci- 
pation is not true freedom but only the beginning of 
it. Real freedom must have its external forms. The 
inner law and the outer law are the opposed aspects 
of concrete social life, not two different things in 
irreconcilable antagonism with each other. Their con- 


flict therefore cannot be permanent and final, and is 
but a phase, a necessary phase, of the process of the 
reconstruction and renewal of the life of a people. 

The idea which underlies this process of restoration 
is that " spirit is more and higher than any material 
or natural force and has superior rights; and further 
that the natural world is itself the symbol or pheno- 
menal manifestation of spirit." The social order does 
not hamper and restrict the free spirit of man which 
he must annul in order to preserve his liberty intact. 
Blind obedience to society and uncompromising hos- 
tility to it are not the only alternatives. "The law 
within and the law without may coincide. Man may 
be obedient and yet free, and the more obedient 
because he is free." The authority of society, rightly 
viewed, is the authority of the inner law unfolded 
into outer usages and institutions. We pursue our 
own good in rendering submission to it. " The will 
of the state and the wills of the citizens can be not 
two wills but one." The state that does not promote 
the common good is untrue to its ideal, and " the 
man who does not carry his city within his heart is 
a spiritual starveling." The highest end of the indi- 
vidual is not other than the end of the state, nor is 
the end of the state other than the end of the indi- 
vidual. It is therefore to the interest of the state 
to foster and not to crush the individuality of its 
members. And it is the interest of the individual to 
make the state strong and efficient. The former truth 
is forgotten by many a socialist and the latter by the 
individualist. A man "acquires value from his social 
context." His station and its duties do not limit his 
freedom or circumscribe his life. On the contrary, 
" they are its substance and steadfast joy." 


Freedom, then, is not a merely negative thing. It 
is much more than the independence of the individual. 
"It is life within the state; it is the life of the state 
within its members, for his duties to himself are duties 
to the state. 55 Positive freedom is gained only when 
" morality is socialised and society is moralised. 55 

The conception of the unity and spirituality of 
nature, says Sir Henry Jones, is implied in the har- 
mony of individual and social ends. It is this con- 
ception that finds expression in the best poetry and 
philosophy of the present age. The denial of it would 
take away from us the only means we have of making 
the facts of our spiritual life intelligible and coherent. 
From this alone we cannot, of course, conclude that 
the conception is true. The philosopher, if not the 
poet, must be prepared to show that it is justified by 
reason. It is a fair demand that what claims to be 
true must stand the test imposed by reason. But the 
idealistic philosopher also is entitled to make a counter- 
demand on us. He can justly say that truth is revealed 
not to indolent minds but only to earnest seekers. 
" Philosophy has no meaning for men at ease : its 
synthesis has no vitality except where experience is 
baffled by its own discrepancies. 55 The doctrines of 
idealism do not seem to be convincing until other 
methods of reconciling the contradictions of experience 
have failed. Our own times, Sir Henry Jones thinks, 
present to idealism the opportunity it needs. Never 
before was the unity of life so broken, never was its 
self- contentment so disturbed. The hedonism in ethics 
and the individualism in politics which satisfied an 
earlier generation are no longer able to solve the com- 
plex problems of these days. We now see clearly that 
neither a nation nor an individual can live a separate 

H.N.-H. Y 


life. "Reluctantly but surely the wlfole world is be- 
coming one mart. 53 The creed that makes the individual 
self-sufficient cannot be the creed of the new age. It 
breaks down hopelessly in attempting to deal with 
present-day problems. In the sphere of religion too 
momentous issues have been raised. The spirit of free 
inquiry has shattered completely the foundations of 
dogmatic theology. It is no longer possible to believe 
in the existence of an extra-mundane deity or in the 
infallibility of a church or of a book. How to retain 
the inner meaning of outworn creeds and to make it 
harmonise with reason is the question. Idealism will 
be justified only if its principles are shown to be capable 
of putting us in the way of solving these problems. 

We live in days when, owing to great changes in 
our circumstances, the principles of life which have 
hitherto guided us are no longer sufficient. There is 
nothing to take the place of the ancient formulae which 
have failed. People yearn for something they do not 
know, and " their thoughts are like homeless winds, 
with moaning in their music." In such a period, 
demanding constructive ideals, idealism, Sir Henry 
Jones thinks, finds its opportunity. It heals the divi- 
sions of life not by slurring over them, but by bring- 
ing to light the principle of unity implied in them. 
"All things fall into one scheme and are by their very 
nature compacted together in one indiscerptible whole," 
but within this whole each thing has a definite and 
necessary place from which it cannot be ousted. A 
plurality of unrelated and mutually excluding things 
and a unity in which all differences are lost are both 
fictions. There is neither a freedom of detachment 
and caprice nor an order of iron necessity, neither a 
lonely God apart from the world which He created 


once updn a time, nor a Godless world of lifeless 
matter governed, by rigid mechanical laws, but a 
spiritual whole whose freedom is the truth of neces- 
sity and whose unity is the presupposition of differ- 
ences. The opposites of experience " are correlative, 
and they exist only in and through their mutual 
reference." The ideal and the actual, good and evil, 
necessity and freedom, nature and spirit have meaning 
only as correlated elements of an all-embracing unity. 
This unity is not beyond them and does not obliterate 
them. It is in them as their element of community. 

The immanence of reason in the world-order means 
that between the ideal and the real there is no breach 
of continuity. " The ideal is real and the real ideal, 
and our one mission as spiritual beings is to make 
this presupposition good within ourselves in actual 
experience. 53 True knowledge consists in the discovery 
of an order already there in the world, and morality 
is the revelation of its ideal nature. " In both these 
activities man's function is repetitive : his thoughts 
and his volitions, in so far as the former is valid and 
the latter good, acquiesce in and reproduce the objec- 
tive order." Man seeks the truth and pursues the 
good because . he thinks that they are " eternally real 
in their own right " and are the very substance of the 

The hypothesis of the unity and spirituality of the 
world, observes Sir Henry Jones, " is the sanest hypo- 
thesis that the mind of man has discovered as yet." 
It stands all the tests of reason. " Idealism seems to 
do better justice to the meaning of the world than 
materialism, spiritual monism than pluralism. The 
idea (Jf order works better than Disorder; of law than 
accident and caprice, of God than chance and Fate." 


In his volume of Gifford lectures entitled A Faith 
that Enquires y Sir Henry Jones enters upon a fuller 
exposition and defence of the idealistic doctrine of 
the unity and spirituality of the world. True religion, 
he points out, rests upon this doctrine, to which a free 
intellectual inquiry inevitably leads us. Reason, there- 
fore, is not the enemy but the ally of religion. " Let 
man seek God by the way of pure reason and he will 
find Him. 35 We are, of course, told that religion is 
one of the things which are unintelligible. Its truths 
are beyond the reach of intellect. Sir Henry Jones 
has no sympathy with this view. " I doubt whether 
there can be anything unintelligible except that which 
is irrational, and I doubt if anything real is irrational 
except as misunderstood." Man's hold of truths 
accepted without inquiry is always insecure. Growing 
experience inevitably gives rise to doubts, and these 
doubts can only be removed by reason. It is true 
that religion is not the same thing as the knowledge 
of religion. Nevertheless, the only solid foundation 
of a religious faith and a religious life is religious 
knowledge. " Like vital organs of a living body, they 
derive their value and meaning, if not their very 
existence, from their mutual involution." Neither 
feeling nor intuition can be a substitute for reason 
in religion. The validity of an idea does not depend 
upon the satisfaction it brings or upon the mere inten- 
sity of the conviction with which it is held. It requires 
to be tested by reason. The methods of religious and 
philosophical knowledge are no doubt different from 
those of natural science, but they are essentially intel- 
lectual methods. The immanence of spirit in natural 
facts on which idealism insists is disclosed only^to the 
eye of reason. 


The natural sciences do not deal with reality as a 
whole, but confine themselves to particular aspects of 
it. They do not profess to give a final explanation of 
what is real. The reason is that the purpose of every 
science is limited, and it therefore restricts itself only 
to those features of things that are relevant to it. But 
what is overlooked for a particular purpose cannot be 
permanently ignored. " A truth omitted from any 
system, or a quality overlooked in any fact, batters it 
from without." Intelligence is thus ultimately forced 
to view all facts and all values as elements of a single 
whole. Its necessities are in the end indistinguishable 
from those of philosophy and religion. But like the 
natural sciences these " witnesses to the wholeness of 
reality" also are liable to be abstract. Just as the 
sciences are apt to forget that the natural has no 
meaning apart from the spiritual, so religion and 
philosophy, on their side, may forget that " spiritual 
facts are not real except when they are exemplified or 
realised in the things and events of time." The merely 
spiritual is as false an abstraction as the merely natural. 
It is the task of the philosophy of religion to show 
this, to bring to light the truth that " the secular is 
sacred and the natural is also spiritual." " Religion," 
says Sir Henry Jones, " loses its value for me if its 
presence and power are not made good everywhere in 
man's daily behaviour, in the social powers which play 
within him and around him, and even in the natural 
world, which is also bone of his bone and flesh of his 
flesh. It must not merely be present, as one thing 
among many: it must be their truest meaning and 
highest worth" (A Faith that Enquires, p. 41). 

Thfe view that there is no breach of continuity 
between the natural and the spiritual does not mean 


that there is no opposition between them. All that 
is contended for is that the opposition is not absolute. 
All contrasts fall within an all-embracing unity, and 
the contrast between nature and spirit, finite and in- 
finite, is no exception. It is a fundamental mistake 
to suppose that while science has to do with the sen- 
sible and particular facts of nature, religion is concerned 
with the infinite and perfect beyond the finite world. 
Science and religion both deal with the same world, 
although from different points of view. Perfection does 
not exclude imperfection and evil, but somehow includes 
it within itself. The contrast of them must in no 
way be minimised, but it must be perceived that 
" the contrasting terms are in truth elements within 
a whole, and that they neither do nor can exist 

The unity " behind or rather within the contrasted 
elements" must not be overlooked. Nowhere is the 
interdependence of facts more evident than in man's 
spiritual life. The correlation and interaction of know- 
ledge, morality, art and religion are as great as their 
contrast The secular and the religious are comple- 
mentary aspects of one whole. " To sever the religious 
from the secular life, or philosophy from common sense, 
as is too often done, is to take away the kernel and 
leave only the shell. Except as the consecration of 
the secular life and the new use of inner and external 
circumstance, religion has no value or function, and, 
except as the reflective reinterpretation of experience, 
philosophy has no cogency or truth " (A Faith that 
Enquires, p. 73). On the other hand, secular life is 
utterly valueless if it is severed from religion. Take 
away from worldly affairs the religious belief that 
sanctifies them and nothing of significance remains. 


" Both believers and sceptics would be less ardent in 
their advocacy of their severed regions, the one all 
sacred and the other all secular, if they faced the 
meaning of the exclusive contrast somewhat more fully 
and frankly." They would then perceive that although 
the contrast is not to be minimised, it rests on a deeper 

The faith of the religious man which the experiences 
of life continually verify, and which, according to Sir 
Henry Jones, is analogous to the hypothesis of science, 
is that because God exists " this world of ours, and 
the most wild and incalculable facts within it, namely 
the lives of men, are factors in a system, to be judged 
not by themselves but as parts of the system into 
which they fit and which amply justifies them." For 
the sceptic who denies this, " the whole order of the 
universe must collapse." To the objection that a 
hypothesis is only a theory and a conjecture on its 
trial, liable to be overthrown by facts it cannot explain 
or be supplanted by a more satisfactory hypothesis, while 
religion is essentially faith and experience that has the 
power to transform character, Sir Henry Jones's answer 
is that religious conceptions, like all other conceptions, 
must stand their trial. Their claim to validity must 
be judged by reason. Hypotheses are not mere irre- 
sponsible guesses but " fundamental principles which 
give systematic coherence to facts." The importance 
of religious experience as a fact is not to be denied. 
Wanting in it, the non-religious man is not entitled 
to express any opinion on the subject. He is " a mere 
looker on." But experience, in order to be valid, must 
be shown to be objective and universal. "The sub- 
jective side of experience furnishes no test. Men have 
been deeply moved by bad religious beliefs and they 


have done c heroic deeds ' of the most atrocious kind." 
Reason alone can subject individual experiences to 
criticism and reveal their objective side. Like the 
hypothesis of science, religious faith also needs veri- 
fication, and that verification comes as it is seen with 
increasing clearness that the course of the world is 
not consistent with the view that at the heart of 
things there is no principle of reason. The belief 
that the order of the universe is due to mere chance 
is " unrivalled in its stupidity." 

Sir Henry Jones discusses at length the relation 
between morality and religion. He points out that 
in the course of their evolution they have often been 
in conflict with each other. Morality, it has been 
held, is secular and is concerned with the affairs of 
everyday life, while religion is sacred and a matter 
of the higher life. Their interests being different, the 
relation between them is one of mutual indifference. 
But human life cannot be broken up into fragments 
in this way. It is a unity manifested in its different 
activities and purposes. However different morality 
and religion may seem to be at first sight, they grow 
from a common root and are interdependent. Both 
have authority over the whole of life. The chief diffi- 
culty of reconciling them arises from the fact that 
while morality implies the distinction of persons as 
responsible and free beings, the very essence of religion 
is to break down the barriers of individuality. The 
moral man seeks to realise himself, to make his per- 
sonality more and more perfect, but the religious man 
becomes one with, is lost in, the object of his worship. 
The moral life, however, does not mean isolation. Man 
is free, but is at the same time continuous with* his 
spiritual and natural environment. He is free " not 


from his world, but by means of his world." Sever- 
ance from the world spells utter helplessness. The 
world is focussed in his consciousness and " is active 
in and as his will." He is dependent absolutely upon 
it, of which he is a part, but, at the same time, he 
reacts upon it with the very powers that are borrowed 
frpm it in his own unique manner, and moulds and 
fashions it according to his plan and purpose. He is 
therefore a free individual. On the other hand, the 
religious man " loses himself in God, but only because 
in that act he has found himself." Oneness with God 
does not mean the cancellation but the expansion of 
the finite self. The antagonism of morality and religion 
is in principle overcome when it is seen that " at the 
heart of morality there is a positive relation to the 
universe and its divine principle; at the heart of religion 
there is a limitless exaltation of the value of the finite 
personality and a deepening of the effective powers of 

Religion consists in the identification of man with 
his ideal, with what he conceives to be the highest 
and best. " The separate, independent, solitary self, 
facing the responsibilities of its own errors, has been 
left behind. Its place is taken by a self that is flooded, 
inundated with its consciousness of God." Instead of 
the old exclusive self, there is the self that can say 
" I live, yet not I but Christ liveth in me." But 
from the moral point of view the self retains its dis- 
tinctive being and struggles to realise an ideal that 
is not but is to be. Everything done by it falls short 
of what ought to be; what it pursues it never attains. 
As morality never succeeds in attaining the ideal which 
for* ever eludes its grasp, it, as compared with religion, 
may seem to be a failure. It is true that morality 


is an unending process, but it is a process within a 
perfect whole. " That which is in process, or, in other 
words, that which is process, or active energy, is at its 
goal all the time that it is operative." The ideal is 
not something far off, awaiting to be realised in the 
remote future. " It is present already as the ultimate 
reality which manifests itself in the facts and events." 
Those who separate the ideal from the real "are not 
dealing with facts but with abstract aspects of them." 
The process of the real is the manifestation of the 
ideal. To understand this is to realise that a living 
religion is not concerned with an empty ideal divorced 
from facts, but always finds expression in practical 
activities, and a living morality has for its presuppo- 
sition the moral being's oneness with the ideal which 
also is truly real. 

The merely moral world is the world of the indi- 
vidualist, described by Bosanquet as the world of claims 
and counter-claims. Its fundamental characteristic is 
the isolation and independence of the individuals held 
together by merely external relations. The claims that 
demand satisfaction and the duties that are enforced 
are alike the private affairs of self-sufficient indi- 
viduals. Such a world, in Bosanquet's words, is full 
of hazards and hardships. By his own strength no one 
can succeed in doing his duty or in getting his rights. 
Separated from one another and from God, men are 
utterly helpless beings. They are cut off from the 
power which alone can raise them above themselves 
and enable them to triumph over sin and evil. The 
individualist's world, therefore, is essentially one of 
failures and disappointments. The religious conscious- 
ness accepts this conclusion, and bids us turn to God 
and to hope for justice and reparations for the un- 


merited sufferings of this life in another world. But 
the known must be our clue to the unknown. If the 
present world is so imperfect, what guarantee is there 
that any other world will be better? The whole diffi- 
culty. Sir Henry Jones thinks, arises from our mis- 
interpretation of the actual social world in which we 
live. It is not at all an individualistic world in which 
" men and women are separate and distinct and ex- 
clusive, and clink against one another like seaside 
pebbles." Because some relations into which men 
enter are external and temporary, it is assumed that 
all relations are of this nature. It is forgotten that the 
very distinction of individuals, their rivalry and com- 
petition, presuppose fundamental affinities. It is their 
universal nature that at once keeps them apart and 
brings them together in social relations. " Men no 
more come out of their particularity in order to form 
society than the leaves of a tree come together and 
fix themselves upon its branches." If this is true, 
" if the good man is good just because he has given 
his self away, dedicated it, and saved it by the dedica- 
tion," there can be no antagonism between morality 
and religion. " Morality becomes the active operation 
of the best, that is, the religious life." 

The real world then is not one of claims and counter- 
claims only, but " a world in which morality is reinter- 
preted in the light of religion, and in which man is 
recognised as having claims and fulfilling them (or as 
a being with rights and duties) because he is already in 
the service of the Best." What, on one side, is man's 
own self-conscious deed, his constant effort to realise 
the moral ideal, is, on another side, God's working 
iif him, " the infinite in the process of demonstrating 
his infinitude." The movement of the world is "both 


moral and religious, both human and divine, both finite 
and infinite." 

The faith of the religious man, his conception of 
the spirituality of the universe, is not a generalisation 
from experience. It, in Sir Henry Jones's view, is 
the fundamental hypothesis to which reflection on our 
own nature and experience inevitably leads us. Par- 
ticular facts can only furnish tests of this hypothesis. 
If it is asked whether the existence of evil is consistent 
with the hypothesis, Sir Henry Jones's answer is that 
the mere fact that we are unable to reconcile certain 
experiences of life with divine reason and benevolence 
is no reason for drawing sceptical conclusions. A law 
of nature discovered by science is not disproved if we 
fail to detect its operation in a given instance. That 
the law is valid in other cases is sufficient reason for 
believing that it is valid in the present case also. From 
the failure to trace the law we cannot pass to the 
conclusion that it does not exist. Similarly, our limited 
knowledge, our ignorance of the true nature of things, 
prevents us from discerning the working of a rational 
and benevolent power in particular occurrences, but it 
does not justify us in saying that the universe is 
irrational. The sceptic's hypothesis does not work. 
It absolutely fails to account for the order and beauty 
of nature. It does not furnish an alternative to 
spiritualistic idealism, which alone holds the field. 

In judging whether things are good or evil, it is 
essential that we should use the right standard of 
judgment, which is not worldly prosperity but the 
spiritual progress of man. Whatever contributes to 
the development of a virtuous character is good, what 
hinders it is evil. Natural events in themselves rfre 
neither good nor bad. From this point of view, what 


are regarded as natural evils are very often blessings 
in disguise. It is in conflict with the antagonistic 
forces of nature that the spiritual powers of man are 
evoked. " Prosperity before now has ruined men, and 
calamity has been the making of them." The world 
in which we live has but one supreme purpose. It is 
" to furnish mankind with the opportunity for having 
goodness." To this end natural evils are very often 
powerful means. Sir Henry Jones, however, believes 
that " in the long run right behaviour brings physical 
and material well-being, and wrong behaviour the 

But moral evil presents a more formidable difficulty. 
Its value is intrinsic. It cannot, like natural evil, be 
regarded as a means to a further end. Does not then 
its existence imply that either God is not good or 
He is not omnipotent? In dealing with this difficulty 
Sir Henry Jones points out that in a changeless world 
there would be no room for either moral good or moral 
evil. But there is no such thing as static perfection. 
" Change is the law of things," particularly of living 
and self-conscious beings. The universe is a single 
never-ending process in which " the variety of its 
activities so fit into one another as to constitute and 
maintain the unity of the whole." In the last resort 
it "is the scene of a self- manifesting perfection." In 
the process of man's life it operates " in such a way 
as to permit the possibility of moral choice and there- 
fore of moral evil." The world would not be spiritual 
if the possibility of moral choice were excluded. It 
is a school of virtue because man is permitted to 
choose between good and evil. The existence of moral 
evil is incidental to the divine love which has given 
man the power to attain what is highest and best by 


the exercise of his own free choice. Moral evil " is 
thus justified in the sense that its possibility is neces- 
sary as a condition of what is best." But it exists in 
order to be finally overcome. "When it comes full 
round, [it] destroys itself, leaving behind it distrust 
of itself and incentives to another way of life." The 
case of hardened sinners to whom evil has become 
good only shows that our faith in the ultimate triumph 
of good is not always verified in our actual experience. 
But our observation of things is most incomplete. We 
have not the whole of reality before us. How can we 
say that divine love has failed to redeem a sinner that 
dies unrepentant when it is remembered that there is 
no reason to think that death ends all? There is 
nothing to shake our conviction that moral evil "will 
prove to be self- contradictory and ultimately self- 
deleting," and that " the good man acts more and 
more consistently with his own rational nature and in 
accordance with the scheme to which he belongs." 

In the philosophical conception of the Absolute the 
justification of religious faith is to be found. Sir Henry 
Jones identifies the God of religion with the M>solute 
of philosophy. The Absolute is the harmonious whole 
as whose constituent elements finite facts are indis- 
solubly linked with one another. It does not extin- 
guish but cherishes and sustains the differences of its 
members. Room for them is left within its unity. 
Wholeness does not mean a " blank sameness, as of 
ultimate substance in which all differences disappear." 
It is the living unity that finds expression in the 
processes of finite objects, the spiritual reality that is 
revealed in the order of nature, and more fully in the 
co-operative activities of human beings making for 
perfection. The Absolute therefore is a self-conscious 


individuality immanent in the world. It " shares in 
the activities of the finite object, and is a doer and 
sufferer in the world's life." "To him, then, who 
would know God, the answer of philosophy would be : 
Observe this never-resting universe as it moves from 
change to change, nor forget the troubled, tragic, sin- 
stained, shameless elements in the world of man, and 
you will find God working his purpose and manifesting 
himself through it all." The perfection of the Absolute 
is not static. " For it to be at all is to be operative, 
outgoing, losing itself to find itself immersed in the 
universe and returning to itself through the universe." 
The Absolute is " a best in process," " a moving per- 
fection." In its very nature there is reason for the 
existence of the world. " An Absolute without a world 
is empty nothingness, just as a world without the 
Absolute is impossible. Nature is the experience, the 
living operation of the Absolute, and the Absolute 
is not only omnipresent in it, but real in virtue of 

At first sight it may seem that the conception of 
man as a higher revelation of God than nature is 
incompatible with his freedom and responsibility. We 
are too apt to suppose that freedom means isolation. 
The independence of man is not inconsistent with but 
is the correlative of his essential union with his fellow- 
beings and God. The differences between man and 
man and between man and God are not to be ignored, 
but the assertion of difference does not imply the denial 
of unity. The unity of all things and their difference 
from each other are not mutually exclusive. They are 
two sides of the same thing. The "either or atti- 
tude " has no justification, and is the result of abstract 
thinking. Everywhere in the world we find " unities 


existing in and by virtue of differences and differences 
deriving their very nature from the unities." If self- 
conscious individuals are independent of one another, 
it is because in them a comprehensive principle of unity 
is manifested. "The unity and independence of men 
not only exist together, but grow by means of each 
other. 55 In the same manner the self of the religious 
man is "given utterly away to the object of its devo- 
tion, 55 but " it is recovered at the same instant. 55 It 
is a single act and cannot be broken up. " The dedi- 
cation is not possible without the simultaneous con- 
sciousness of a purified, strengthened, c saved 5 self; 
nor these without the dedication. To give ourselves 
to God is to have God with us and in us. 55 From 
this point of view, the freedom of man is seen to be 
in no way inconsistent with his oneness with God. 

" For science, 55 says Sir Henry Jones, " there is one 
universe. It forms a single system in which all things 
have their place and function; and it implies one ulti- 
mate reality, whose process of self- manifestation the 
universe is. 55 Apart from this process of self- mani- 
festation God cannot exist. If "a thing is what it 
does, 55 if it is not "a being which lurks somewhere 
in the background behind its deeds, and is therefore 
unknown and unknowable, 55 and if the universe can 
only be explained by being referred to the Absolute, 
it follows that " no option remains except to identify 
the Absolute with the world-process. 55 The process is 
within the Absolute w r hole and implies time. But time 
is not mere succession. It presupposes permanence. It 
is " eternity breaking out into an endless succession of 
nows." Reality is revealed in temporal process and 
is not immobile and changeless. To say this is not 
to make process ultimate. " It is one thing to say 


that everything that is moves or changes, and another 
that it consists of motion and change. Motion, change, 
taken by themselves are abstractions. They are not 
reality, but ways in which reality exists and behaves." 

Sir Henry Jones denies that there is any such thing 
as contingencies in the universe. If by the contingent 
is meant the unexplained, then, of course, there are 
numberless facts which may be called so, but if by it 
we understand what is irrational and inexplicable, then 
its admission " plays havoc with philosophic theory and 
religious faith." If the theory of idealism that " reality 
constitutes one system, that the system is all-inclusive, 
that within it all its parts have free play and full func- 
tion, and that these parts or elements so agree as to 
be rationally coherent " is valid, contingencies must be 
ruled out. 

Sir Henry Jones subjects to elaborate criticism Brad- 
ley's view that the God of religion is not the Absolute 
of philosophy. The Absolute, according to Bradley, 
is related to nothing, because it is all-inclusive, but 
religion implies a practical relation, and, therefore, dis- 
tinction between the worshipper and the worshipped. 
This does not mean that there are two supreme beings, 
God and the Absolute, but that the one ultimate reality 
may be viewed in two ways as the unity that tran- 
scends the distinction of God and man and as the unity 
that is realised in their distinction and relation. In 
religion the supreme unity is set over against the finite 
self, and therefore, as Bradley says, becomes something 
less than the universe. But the finite self, which from 
the point of view of religion is distinguished from God, 
is in reality included in His being. The same reality 
is, : n one point of view God, in another the Absolute. 
Sir Henry Jones does injustice to Bradley in supposing 

H.N.-H. Z 


that he regards God and the Absolute as two different 
entities. After all, the whole question is one of nomen- 
clature only. If by God you mean the ultimate reality 
beyond all distinctions then God is the same as the 
Absolute; but if, as is ordinarily the case, God is dis- 
tinguished from and conceived as related to the finite 
self, then He is not the Absolute. Bradley's point is 
that however much the distinction between God and 
man may be necessary for practical purposes, it is fin- 
ally untenable. From the philosophical standpoint, the 
Absolute supersedes God. The two conceptions cannot 
be kept rigidly apart. They are constantly shading off 
into each other. But, in theory, it is wrong not to 
distinguish them. 

Sir Henry Jones lays the utmost stress on the 
immanence of God in the universe and on His per- 
fection as involving process. " To me," he says, " the 
idea of God as the perfect in process, as a movement 
from splendour to splendour in the spiritual world, as 
an eternal achievement and never-ceasing realisation of 
the ideals of goodness in human history, is endlessly 
more attractive and, I believe, more consistent with 
our experience in the present world than the idea of a 
Divine Being who sits aloof from the world-process, 
eternally contemplating his own perfections. Love, at 
any rate, is directly and finally inconsistent with such 
an aloofness. And the religion of love, which Chris- 
tianity is, undoubtedly identifies the destiny of God 
and man : God suffers in our sufferings, and rejoices 
in our joys. He is our Father; and He moves with 
us, because He moves in us" (A Faith that Enquires, 


Sir Henry Jones rightly believes that if the principles 
of idealism are to justify themselves, they must be 


capable of throwing light on the nature and structure 
of society. Much confusion, he points out, has arisen 
from the attempt to interpret society by means of 
categories which are not applicable to it. " To every 
material we must bring the appropriate categories; to 
every lock its own key." Human society is not com- 
posed of mutually exclusive beings like material objects. 
" It is a rationally compacted system of inter-acting 
personalities." From the point of view of mechanism, 
therefore, we cannot understand what it is. Nor are 
biological conceptions like * struggle for existence,' 
c survival of the fittest ' more helpful. They imply 
that the evolution of human beings is conditioned by 
their antagonism and conflict. Reason or self -conscious- 
ness alone furnishes a clue to the nature of society. Self- 
conscious beings do not exclude but interpenetrate one 
another. Mine is made possible by Thine, the good 
that is personal is realised with the good that is 
common. Society has one life, one mind, one will, 
which at the same time is the life, the mind, the will 
of every member of it. It is the product of reason, 
the exhibition of reason, and its structure is rational 

The social order is man's creation maintained by his 
activities for the realisation of his own powers. We 
cannot pursue our private ends without taking account 
of one another. Actual experience shows how true the 
doctrine of the brotherhood of man is. The nature of 
the individual is through and through social. Man 
depends as completely on society as society depends on 
man. It is not that we begin with an individual and 
then add to him his relations to his fellows. Apart from 
these relations, he is nothing. Remove from his per- 
sonality its social content and there remains only an 


empty form. "As there is no cell or fibre of his 
physical organism which has not been borrowed and 
elaborated from his natural environment, so there is 
no element of his individuality which he does not owe 
to the social world within and upon which alone his 
rational nature can be sustained " (Working Faith of 
the Social Reformer, p. 278). The personality of man 
is deepened and perfected as he consciously identifies 
himself with his social environment and makes it part 
and parcel of his own being. The converse of this 
proposition is equally true. If the individual is 
essentially social, society also is real only in the indi- 
viduals. Suppress the individual, destroy his freedom, 
and the very foundations of society are undermined. 
"The welfare of society depends on providing for the 
individual the means for the most vigorous growth 
of an independent personality means which include, 
amongst other things, full rights of private property 
and full scope for private enterprise " (Working Faith 
of the Social Reformer, p. 273). 

Individual and social ends grow together and are 
inseparable aspects of one whole. They are in conflict 
only when society as well as the individual are in 
contradiction with themselves. As social evolution pro- 
ceeds, the functions of the individual are increased side 
by side with the functions of the community as a whole. 
The attempt to draw a line between the sphere of the 
individual and that of society on the assumption that 
any enlargement of the one is a corresponding cur- 
tailment of the other is absurd. It is the result of 
our being swayed by mechanical conceptions. In the 
domain of organic existence, mutual exclusion is made 
possible by mutual inclusion. "There what the purt 
gains it gains both by means of, and for, the whole; 


and what the whole achieves makes achievement on the 
part of the members all the more easy. 55 The rights of 
an individual are not mere private claims but universal 
in their nature, and their expansion is the indispensable 
condition of social growth. " Society has no right 
which is so unconditioned as the right to make the 
most of its members; and the individual has no right 
which can compare with his right to do his duty, which 
is to fulfil his part as a member of society, and there- 
fore to serve society" (Working Faith of the Social 
Reformer, p. 248). 

The practical conclusion which Sir Henry Jones 
draws from all this is that the life of the good man 
must be a life of social service. We must pay our 
social debts because the extent of our borrowings is 
so great. Social service does not mean doing some- 
thing extraordinary or heroic. " The station which the 
good man fills may be small and his duties may have 
a narrow range his contribution to the world's good 
may be c a widow's mite. 5 But if the duty is well done 
and done as a duty, the sovereign value of the supreme 
good dwells in it. The good man at his post 
knows that he has the Moral Universe at his back, 
and the consciousness of it gives him a strength 
which cannot be overcome 55 (Principles of Citizenship, 

P- 70); . 

Socialism has no terror for Sir Henry Jones if by it 

we understand the extension of corporate activity. Both 
the opponents and the supporters of socialism take it 
for granted that the extension of the powers of the 
state means the curtailment of individual liberty. If 
this assumption were correct, socialism would be wholly 
indefensible. Anything that weakens the individual is 
an evil. It is through the activities and intelligence of 


the individual that society attains its own end. And 
the end of society is also the ultimate end of the 
individual. The controversy about individualism and 
socialism arises from the failure to rise above the dis- 
tinction of mine and thine. It is not seen that this 
distinction is possible only within the unity of society. 
The institution of property seems to lend support to 
the theory of the individualist. What is my property 
cannot also be the property of others. From the pos- 
session of what I own others are inevitably excluded. 
This, however, is not the whole truth. To convert a 
thing into property, a man must not merely hold it, 
but must secure the recognition of his ownership by 
society. The existence of property depends upon free 
individuals mutually recognising each other's rights. 
The stoutest champion of individual rights expects the 
state to help him in safeguarding his rights. This 
means that individual rights are the expression of the 
social will. On the other hand, the efficiency of society 
depends upon its according independence to its mem- 
bers. It lives and has its being in them and is an 
abstraction apart from them. The extension of state 
and civic enterprise, therefore, does not mean the 
curtailment of private enterprise. Each in developing 
strengthens the other. Increase of social organisation 
goes hand in hand with the development of individual 
freedom and power. " Owing to the higher organisa- 
tion and the enlarged functions of the modern state, the 
individual is a much more powerful agent than the 
member of a crude community. In other words, owing 
to the system of institutions which the state comprises 
and sustains, he can conceive and carry out purposes 
utterly beyond the reach of the latter : he is a dedper 
and more effective personality. The modern state is 


a rich treasury of resources upon which he can 
draw, and its organisation constitutes a most powerful 
machinery on which he can lay his hands. It supplies him 
with the means of a larger life, and extends and deepens 
the significance of his individuality" (Working Faith 
of the Social Reformer, p. 144). The fact that the indi- 
vidualist does not seek to destroy social order and the 
socialist to do away with the freedom of the individual 
shows that their respective ideals admit of adjustment 
and reconciliation. Freedom without social solidarity 
and order is as impossible as the latter without the 
former. Individualism and socialism both are one-sided 
representations of a fuller truth. The former does not 
see that personal liberty grows only on the soil of social 
co-operation and effort, while the latter fails to perceive 
that state control and organisation has value because it 
increases the efficiency of the individual. Increase of 
the power of the state is only another side of the 
increase of the power of the individual. The man 
versus the state theory does not see that " the state as 
a single organism grows in power, even as its citizens 
acquire freedom; and that the more free and enter- 
prising the citizens, the more sure the order and the 
more extensive the operations of the state." In 
organising its citizens the state does not reduce them 
to nullity but gives them a more effective personality. 
Organisation, of course, is impossible without limita- 
tion, but "what is limited for the individual is riotJiis 
freedom but his caprice, not his power to do right but 
his inclination to do wrong." 

It must not be concluded, however, that state inter- 
ference is always and in all circumstances desirable. The 
soje consideration is the furtherance of the common 
good, and the intervention of the state is desirable only 


when by means of it the well-being of the community 
as a whole, as distinguished from that of a class, is 
likely to be secured. If private enterprise can serve this 
purpose with equal efficiency, it is wrong to interfere 
with it. All that Sir Henry Jones wants us to be clear 
about is that the limits of state control cannot be fixed 
by any a priori individualistic theory. We cannot say 
to the state, " thus far and no further." Whether in a 
particular instance private enterprise should give place 
to corporate activity is a question which must be decided 
by a careful consideration of all the circumstances of 
the case. Whichever policy promotes the freedom and 
efficiency of the citizens is good. The power which it 
may be inexpedient to give to a weak and inefficient 
state may be safely exercised by one that is strong and 
intelligent. The rights of personality must be jealously 
guarded, but, at the same time, it must be remembered 
that " the sovereignty of the individual's will and its 
sacredness come from its identification with a wider 
will." Personal rights are indissolubly linked with the 
rights of others, and all rights have their root in the 
general good. "The individual can resist the will of 
the community or the extension of the functions of his 
city or state only when he has identified his own will 
with a will that is more universal, more concrete, and 
the source of higher imperatives than either." No man 
is justified in disregarding the authority of the state 
solely for his private advantage. 

If " the state is an individual whose members are 
also individuals, one will in which many wills are united 
more or less freely and fully, and which has for its object 
the common or universal good," it follows that the per- 
manent care of the state is to educate its citizens and 
that the state itself is, in the last resort, an educational 


institution. The state that neglects to develop the man- 
hood of its citizens abdicates its chief function. If it 
is said that character or the material out of which it is 
fashioned is something which an individual brings with 
him into the world and that the state has no power 
over it. Sir Henry Jones's answer is that character and 
environment cannot be dissociated from each other. 
" What we call character from one point of view, we 
call environment from another. Character and environ- 
ment are not even separate elements, far less are they 
independent, isolated, externally interacting objects." 
In the self-consciousness and character of a man, his 
world, his environment is inwardised, and the world is 
the content of his self and character. There is nothing 
in the outer world which is not sustained by his inner 
nature and nothing in his inner nature which is not 
derived from the outer world. The self and the world 
are the inner and outer aspects of the same thing. 
Through its control over the external circumstances of 
life, the state can mould and fashion the character of its 
citizens. But the task must be undertaken in the plastic 
period of life, before the environment has definitely 
become the content of the self. While character is in 
the process of being formed, much may be done to 
develop its possibilities, but once it is formed, all 
attempts to change it prove unsuccessful. 

Sir Henry Jones is not disposed to withhold any 
power from the state which it is necessary for it to 
exercise in order to promote the moral education of its 
citizens. "The state may do anything that makes for 
the good life of its citizens, and nothing else; and 
the citizen may claim anything that makes for the same 
good life, and nothing else always bearing in mind 
that the good life is a common good, the well-being 


at once of the individual citizen and of the state " 
(Principles of Citizenship, p. 149). 

From Sir Henry Jones's point of view, the revolu- 
tionary reformer is as little justified as the hidebound 
conservative. None but those who understand the good 
that is already embodied in social arrangements, who 
perceive that what is to be must be continuous with 
what is, can be effective reformers. " The reform of 
the state, and of the social life within it, must be based 
on loyalty; loyalty must rest on reverence, and we can 
revere only that which we believe to be in some ways 
great and good. 55 To reform is in many cases simply 
to continue the work already done. Nothing new can 
be introduced which the old is unable to assimilate. 
The action of the great reformer is never determined 
by " shallow, abstract, mischievous thought that is not 
in touch with facts. 55 He comes not to destroy but to 
fulfil. But, on the other hand, the good is always 
dynamic. Its embodiment is never complete. For the 
very preservation of the identity of society, its constant 
transformation according to the requirements of the 
times is necessary. Change must be orderly and 
gradual, but without change no conservation is possible. 
Evolving things remain identical with themselves " only 
through the constant transformation of every cell and 
fibre within them. 55 The demand of idealism, says Sir 
Henry Jones, is that existing institutions are to be pre- 
served only by being moralised. " It would, to take 
one instance, leave the social reformer no rest till he 
had made the workshop, the mine, the counting-house, 
the shipyard into moral institutions. 55 The aim of 
idealism is to transform every occupation into " the 
expression of a free choice of mode of life, and* the 
outlet of devoted energies," to make " the life of 


citizenship a mode of divine service." " Such a social 
revolution as that, even although it left the external 
relations between men just as they stand, would reach 
sufficiently deep to satisfy the most ardent reformer." 


PROFESSOR J. H. MUIRHEAD, long connected with the 
University of Birmingham and general editor of the 
Library of Philosophy, has written more on ethics, 
politics and social philosophy than on metaphysics 
proper. He has a very vivid sense of the close con- 
nection between philosophy and the practical affairs of 
life, and is insistent in preaching that apart from life 
philosophy has very little significance. As the theory 
of reality, philosophy seeks to interpret life, to under- 
stand it, and a life whose meaning is understood is a 
fuller thing than a life which is merely lived. We philo- 
sophise " not to get away from the facts into some pure 
abstract region, but to get close to them, to make them 
more of facts to us, to broaden them out through under- 
standing their bearings" (Philosophy and Life, p. 8). 
Imbued wkh this conviction, it is but natural that 
the main attention of Professor Muirhead should be 
directed more to the practical applications of philosophy 
than to its purely theoretical aspects. 

Professor Muirhead has not given us any detailed 
exposition of idealism. He, in general agreement with 
Green and Caird, holds that there is no division between 
knowledge and reality. The very aim of our knowing 
activity, he argues, proves the identity of ultimate 
reality (vide the essay on the " Goal of Knowledge " in 



Philosophy and Life, p. 205). The ideal of knowledge 
is to " embrace reality in all its parts or details," to 
comprehend fully the relation of the component parts 
of the world to one another and to the whole. This 
ideal is operative more or less clearly in all actual know- 
ledge. We are never satisfied with the mere accumula- 
tion of facts, but always seek to reduce them to inter- 
connected elements of an all-inclusive and harmonious 
whole. That such is the ideal of knowledge shows that 
facts and ideas, the particulars of experience and the 
universals of thought, cannot be kept apart from each 
other. The existence of things in time and space is only 
anjelement in their reality. Their full reality consists 
in their being the embodiment of thought. This does 
not mean that things are reducible to abstract concepts. 
Thought is not simply a system of such concepts, but 
a unity realised in all differences, including the differ- 
ences of subject .and object, the universal and the par- 
ticular. It comprehends all elements of experience 
within itself. 

In his short but very suggestive article on idealism 
in the Encyclopedia Britannica, nth edition, Professor 
Muirhead carefully distinguishes idealism from various 
other doctrines with which it is liable to be confused. 
The central truth of idealism is that knowledge or 
experience is a whole in which " the two factors of 
subject and object stand in a relation of active inter- 
dependence 'on "each' other as warp and woof." A thing- 
m-itselF is an absolutely self -contradictory notion. 
Equally so is a subject unrelated to the object. "To 
seek for the true self in any region into which its 
opposite in the form of a not-self does not enter is to 
grasp a shadow." As the object owes its existence to 
the constructive activity of the subject, so the subject 


exists by virtue of the activity by which 

iHealism, therefore, is opposed to dualism, which 
regards mind and matter as two distinct entities, to the 
doctrine which usually passes for idealism and reduces 
all reality to the states of the mind, and to realism which 
regards matter unrelated to mind or some unknown 
power whose manifestations mind and matter are, but 
which itself is neither, as the ultimate reality. According 
to it " absolute reality is to be sought not beyond the 
region of experience, but in the fullest and most har- 
monious statement of the facts of our experience." It 
is a mistake to suppose that idealism ignores experience 
and believes that there is some a priori path to truth. 
" In reality it stands for a more thoroughgoing and con- 
sistent application of the test of experience." Experi- 
ence, it shows, does not mean " a pure unadulterated 
sense experience, but contains a universal element as its 
essential factor." 

Professor Muirhead recognises that idealism no 
longer holds the position of undisputed supremacy 
which it did in the last century. There has recently 
been a strong reaction against it. It has been attacked 
from two different sides by those who think that it 
subverts the reality of the external world and by those 
who imagine that "in the statuesque world of ideas into 
which it introduces us it leaves no room for the element 
of movement and process which recent psychology and 
metaphysics alike have taught us underlies all life." As 
regards the first charge, Professor Muirhead has no 
difficulty in showing that it is the outcome of mis- 
apprehension. Modern idealism is fully at one with 
dualism in insisting that " in all knowledge we gre in 
touch not merely with the self and its passing states, 


but with a real object which is different from them." 
There is no question of minimising the emphasis on 
the object. All that idealism contends for is that the 
object is comprised and has a definite place within the 
circle of experience. As it differs from Berkleianism 
in proclaiming the reality of the external world, so 
it differs from Spinozism in maintaining the reality of 
differences within it. To the monist's assertion of a 
pure undifferentiated unity the dualist opposes the 
assertion of absolute difference. " But if it is an error 
to treat the unity of the world as its only real aspect, 
it is equally an error to treat its differences as something 
ultimately irreducible." The dualist is right in laying 
stress upon the reality of differences, but he does not 
see that all differences, in the last resort, presuppose. . 
a^unity, " that in which and that by which they differ 
from one another." Everywhere ^discloses 
multiplicity in unity. 

The second charge is more serious. Professor Muir- 
head does not deny that idealism would be an entirely 
untenable theory if it really left no room for freedom, 
movement and change in the universe. But " the 
guarantee of freedom is to be sought for not in the 
denial of law, but in the whole nature of mind and 
its relation to the structure of experience." Without 
mind an orderly world is no more possible than is 
mind without the world. " In interpreting its environ- 
ment first as a world of things that seem to stand in 
a relation of exclusion to one another and to itself, 
then as a rational system governed by rigid mechanical 
necessity, the mind can yet feel that in its very oppo- 
sition the world is akin to it, bone of its bone and 
flesh of its flesh." Freedom is to be saved not by 
denying the necessary order of nature but by finding 


in it its own content. What the arguments of the 
critics of idealism suggest, says Professor Muirhead, is 
" not a rash departure from the general point of view 
of idealism, but a cautious inquiry into the possibility 
of reaching a conception of the world in which place 
can be found at once for the idea of unity and deter- 
mination and of movement and freedom." The unity 
of the world is, for idealism, a^sgjritual unity. It con- 
ceives of the infinite as a universal spirit that realises 
itself in the finite "not as accidents or imperfections 
of it, but as its essential form." These, therefore, must 
be viewed as possessing a life of their own, as self- 
determining and creative. The activity of a subject 
does not merely reproduce what already exists. It 
involves the creation of something new, although the 
new grows out of the old. " Oldness, sameness, per- 
manence of principle and direction, these must be, 
otherwise there is nothing; but newness of embodiment, 
existence, realisation also, otherwise nothing is" The 
perfection of the infinite, therefore, is not static; it 
involves origination, movement and change. The 
eternal includes the Jtime .process. Apart from the 
world and its processes, the finite selves and their 
activities, the infinite is nothing. The mistake of 
those who^ regard the finite and temporal world as an 
illusion is to be removed " not by giving up the idea 
of the infinite, but by ceasing to think of the infinite 
as of a being endowed with a static perfection which 
the finite will merely reproduces, and definitely recog- 
nising the forward effort of the finite as an essential 
element in its self-expression." Human life does not 
consist in an idle reproduction of a perfection already 
attained independently of it. We are as necessary to 
God as God is to us. It is through our efforts and 


achievements that God's purpose is fulfilled. "If it 
be true that the finite spirit lives and moves and has 
its being in the infinite spirit, it is no less true that 
the infinite spirit lives and moves and has its being 
in the finite" (The Life and Philosophy of Edward 
Caird, p. 354). 

Professor Muirhead's ethical theory is, in the main, 
that of Green and Caird. It is briefly, though very 
lucidly, set forth in his Elements of Ethics. Professor 
Muirhead is very modest in his estimate of the value 
of this book. " Take my advice," he says, " and do 
not read elements and outlines. You may be sure that 
this advice is quite disinterested, because I have written 
elements myself. Go to the great writers " (Philosophy 
and Life, p. 18). The student of ethics may be assured 
that if he takes this advice he will decidedly be a loser. 
Nowhere else will he find the ethics of idealism outlined 
more succinctly and more clearly. 

Professor Muirhead begins by pointing out that the 
problems of ethics arise when the established usages 
and modes of life are no longer sufficient to satisfy 
the requirements of the new age. Doubt is thrown 
on the validity of custom when in consequence of the 
growth of a nation there is no longer any congruity 
between its habits and the new interests which have 
been awakened. Old ways of life have to be modified 
to suit new needs. " The new wine has to be poured 
into the old bottles." Ethics helps us in understand- 
ing how this can be effectively done. It neither 
blindly accepts nor disdainfully rejects the older forms 
of thought and life, but seeks to interpret them, to 
discover the reason that underlies them. 

Ethics is not, like psychology, concerned with con- 
duct as a fact, but with judgments passed upon conduct. 

H.N.-H. 2 A 


Its aim is " to bring these judgments into organic 
relation with one another and with the known facts 
of experience; to strip them of their apparent arbi- 
trariness, and clothe them with the livery of reason, 
by showing them to be necessary postulates of that 
organism. ja. Delations which we know as Jiujjian 
society." Judgments upon conduct imply a standard 
of judgment and involve " the assumption that man 
is not merely a part of nature and the blind servant 
of her purposes, but is conscious of being a part, and 
of being subject to her laws. 55 But such consciousness 
is impossible without a reference to the world as a 
whole. Ethics, therefore, is forced to consider the 
question of man's place in the universe. It is insepar- 
able from metaphysics. 

Conduct, which is the object of moral judgment, is 
willed action. It is to be distinguished from all kinds 
of involuntary action. Will is not a faculty belonging 
to the self, but " is the self apprehended as consciously 
moving towards the realisation of an object of interest. 55 
It "differs from conduct as the inward does from the 
outward aspect of the same fact. 55 The object of interest 
which the self seeks to realise is the motive. It is 
desired because it has value for the self. Motive, 
therefore, is organically related to the will and does 
not, as determinists imagine, influence it from with- 
out. What the motive is to be depends on self and 
character. As character is the habit of will, judgment 
on conduct is also judgment on character. 

Is an action judged for its motive or for its results? 
The controversy on this subject, Professor Muirhead 
thinks, is largely due to the ambiguity of the terms 
employed. If we carefully fix the meanings of <* the 
terms * motive 5 and c consequent, 5 we should see that 


" the antithesis upon which the controversy turns is 
in reality a false one." In judging an act only its 
foreseen results can be taken into consideration. The 
whole of the foreseen results is intended, but only that 
part of it for the sake of which the act is done is 
the motive. a The consequences of the intermediate 
steps or the means adopted, though part of the inten- 
tion, are not motive. 5 ' Intention thus includes motive, 
which " is the ultimate consequent as apprehended and 
desired." If then we understand by c motive ' not a 
mere feeling but " the end with which the will iden- 
tifies itself in the action, and by so doing reveals its 
character," and by c consequent 5 only that part of the 
anticipated results for the sake of which the action is 
done, it is quite immaterial whether we say that the 
moral judgment is passed upon the motive or upon 
the consequent. 

In judging conduct we apparently use two different 
standards, that of a law and that of an end. But 
Professor Muirhead shows that the former is subor- 
dinate to the latter. The ultimate standard of judg- 
ment is the end, which alone is intrinsically desirable. 
Laws^are mere nieans to the attainment of the end. 
Although the earliest conception of morality is obedi- 
ence to law, it is impossible to rest in this conception. 
Separate and independent laws cannot be all of equal 
authority. They are bound to come into conflict with 
each other. Nor is it possible to provide a rule for 
every conceivable situation in life. Even if this could 
be done, it would "mean the destruction of morality, 
which would thus be reduced to the unintelligent 
application of authoritative commands." 

Tfeese difficulties have been sought to be obviated 
by conceiving of the moral law as an inner law revealed 


by conscience. Intuitionist moralists maintain that con- 
science is an underived faculty whose judgments are 
intuitive and universally valid. Its authority is abso- 
lute and incapable of being questioned. But Professor 
Muirhead shows that the objections to intuitionism are 
no less serious than those to which the conception of 
morality as obedience to external law is open. The 
element of reason and the element of feeling in con- 
science may not be in harmony with each other. The 
judgments of conscience may be as much in conflict 
as external laws. It is by no means the case that 
men in all ages and countries are agreed in their views 
about right and wrong. And, finally, the law revealed 
by conscience is no more internal than the traditional 
codes. " To be c internal 5 in the sense required, the 
law must be seen to be really our own, not merely 
the law of some part of us." The law which the higher 
self imposes upon the lower self is still external to the 
lower self. 

Professor Muirhead holds that the intuitionist theory 
represents "a point midway between the view which 
identifies morality with obedience to a code of com- 
mandments received from without and that which seeks 
to find in it the expression of some intelligible prin- 
ciple." Morality is to be conceived as " free obedience 
to a law imposed by man as a self- conscious unity 
upon the various subordinate elements of his .own 
nature." We must go beyond the conception of the 
standard as law and substitute for it the idea of an end. 
" Moral judgments do not rest on a number of isolated 
intuitions, but are organically related to an end or 

The most important problem of ethics is to deter- 
mine the nature of the end by which conduct is judged. 


The end of life cannot be external to life itself. It 
is nothing else than the highest perfection of life, 
implying a harmonious development of all its elements. 
This is not always realised, and the result is that an 
exaggerated importance is attached to one of its ele- 
ments only. Hedonism, for instance, conceives of man 
as essentially a sentient being, and regards the gratifi- 
cation of his sentient nature as his only possible end. 
Conduct, it teaches, has value in proportion to the 
amount of pleasure it produces. Professor Muirhead 
states the theory impartially, and allows it every advan- 
tage which its association with the doctrine of evolution 
may bring. But he rejects it mainly on the ground 
that its "assumption that the self is primarily and 
essentially feeling " is false. He is, however, not blind 
to its merits. It has been a corrective to the equally 
one-sided ascetic view of life, and "at a time when 
other theories by their conservatism and mysticism 
seemed to favour the maintenance of established 
abuses " has offered " an apparently simple and intel- 
ligible standard by which the value of laws and 
institutions might be estimated." As to evolutionary 
hedonism, Professor Muirhead regards its insistence 
on the organic character of society as its chief merit. 
But its association with the pleasure theory is arbi- 
trary, and in substituting the end of " social health " 
or " increase of life " for the greatest happiness of the 
greatest number, it does not see that " the end must 
be a form of personal good." In order to amend it, 
it is necessary "(i) to recognise that hedonism has 

become an anachronism; (2) to add to its empirical 

' \ / ^, .....-.&. 

demonstration that the individual is essentially social 
a tgleological demonstration that his good is essentially 
a conunon good." 


The theory directly antithetical to hedonism is that 
which regards the end as self -conquest. It is founded 
on the view that reason is man's real self with which 
his sentient nature has no necessary connection. " In 
order to be good, an act must be done out of reverence 
for the reason which enjoins it, and without regard to 
the consequences to the sentient self, whether one's 
own or another's." The chief historical forms of this 
theory are Stoicism and Kantianism. Its value lies in 
this that it does not, like hedonism, confound virtue 
with mere expediency and lays stress on the truth that 
reason being the same for all is the true bond of union 
between men. It thus provides the foundation of the 
idea of the brotherhood of man. Although it errs in 
opposing reason to our animal nature too sharply, cc it 
is undoubtedly true that at a certain stage in moral 
development, both in the individual and in the race, the 
negative or the ascetic element is the prominent one." 
NTo moral progress is possible without the subordina- 
tion of the lower elements of life to the higher, and 
that involves struggle, self-denial and pain. "Readi- 
ness to suffer is an inexpugnable element in all virtue." 
But the defect of the ascetic theory is that it regards 
the negative aspect of morality as its only aspect. It 
does not see that self-realisation means not the anni- 
hilation of feelings and desires but the proper organisa- 
tion of them. As the organising principle, reason has 
of course a position of supremacy, but its very function 
makes it impossible to separate it from the positive 
content of life. In spite of its opposition to hedonism, 
rationalism has one thing in common with it. It is 
" in fundamental agreement with it in holding that 
reason stands outside the object of desire, and is pnly 
externally related to it." 


Professor Muirhead holds that " the standard of 
morality is to be found in the conception of end, not 
of law." Moral laws have validity because they flow 
from the idea of an end. Conformity to them is the 
necessary means of realising the end which is " an ideal 
form of life." " The ideal cannot consist in a mere 
state of feeling resulting from the satisfaction of quali- 
tatively identical desires; nor yet in complete deter- 
mination by reason apart from all desire; but in the 
subordination of the parts of our nature and the 
activities to which they prompt to the law_of the self 
as a whole which includes both reason and desire " 
(Elements of Ethics, p. 167). The self so interpreted 
is not an isolated unit but " is only comprehensible as a 
member of a society whose moral judgments reflect a 
moral order already established in its environment." 
Ideas of right and wrong have no meaning except in 
relation to social life. The distinctions of egoistic and 
altruistic feelings, society and the individual, man and 
the state are not to be ignored, but it is essential to 
remember that they are relative distinctions within a 
whole which makes them possible. To say that men 
are moral beings only as inter-dependent members of 
society is not to deny their individuality. " Indivi- 
duality must be sought for not in separation from the 
whole, but in the whole-hearted acceptance of a definite 
station within it." From this it follows that the good 
of the individual is inseparable from the common good. 
The man who identifies himself with the life of society 
finds his own. On the other hand, he who seeks to 
save his life by standing apart from society loses it. 
" The common good has a claim upon the individual 
because, it corresponds to his own deepest, need toJzg 
an individual" Social institutions seem to be limita- 


tions on our liberty only when they are outgrown or 
when liberty is " conceived of as the, absence pf restraint 
rather than the presence of opportunity." Rightly 
viewed, they " stand 'for the more permanent ends of 
corporate life " and serve to " unite separate individual 
wills in a common humanly significant purpose." 

Professor Muirhead denies that there is any incom- 
patibility between self-assertion and self- surrender. 
Self-assertion is not to be identified with selfishness, 
nor is self-sacrifice a rational ideal unless it is an aspect 
of some form of self -fulfilment. " What we must 
mean in speaking of an ideal of self-sacrifice is the 
fulfilment of the self in some object of human worth 
which transcends the individual personality and involves 
apparent loss to it." 

Are we not, it may be asked, arguing in a circle 
when we explain moral judgments by connecting them 
with the end of self-realisation and then say that the 
self is realised " by loyalty to the ordinary duties of 
life, the good parent, the honest worker, the upright 
citizen " ? Professor Muirhead's answer is that moral 
judgments whose rationale is understood are not the 
same as unexplained moral judgments. Further, the 
ideal which it is the aim of good conduct to realise is 
not " something to be attained in the long run " but 
" is daily and hourly realised in the good act itself." 
In and through the moral duties the self is realised. 

Professor Muirhead points out that duties, virtues 
and institutions are intimately connected with one 
another. On the one side, duties are related to " the 
qualities of character which lead to their recognition 
and performance," and, on the other, to " the social 
institutions which guarantee a field for their" 
The subjective system of impulses and desires and the 


activities which spring from them are the correlative of 
the system of objective institutions. A complete theory 
of ethics, therefore, would have to exhibit both aspects 
of the forms of the good. 

Virtue, understood as " the quality of character which 
secures that action shall be controlled by the idea of 
the whole," being one, its forms, " as infinite as the 
passions to be regulated or the situations which have 
to be adequately met," are inter-dependent and in- 
separable. An exhaustive enumeration of them is im- 
possible. All that can be usefully done is to indicate 
the main types. Professor Muirhead regards Plato's 
classification as sound in principle and discusses the 
cardinal virtues in the manner of Green. 

Th^mj^ral_standard, the ideal by which conduct is 
judged, is not something absolute and unchangeable 
but varies, in different tinges and countries. It is rela- 
tive to the circumstances of the place and age in which 
it is accepted as valid. The Greek ideal of life is not 
the same as the medieval ideal, nor is the medieval ideal 
the same as the modern Christian ideal. This, how- 
ever, does not mean that there is no universal standard 
of morality. " Underlying the apparent diversities in 
the content of the moral standard, there is at least a 
real unity of form." The idea of evolution enables us 
to understand how there may be a unity of principle 
underlying the variations of morality in different times 
and countries. The diverse moral standards are to be 
regarded as the stages through which one and the same 
moral ideal passes in the course of its development. 
They can be arranged in an ascending scale of worth 
according to the extent to which they represent a 
upiversal moral order. 

How is the progress of morality to be conceived? 


Can it be explained as mere adaptation to environment 
brought about by the operation of natural laws or does 
it " involve a reference to an end or ideal more or less 
consciously conceived by a subject, to whom changes 
in the environment and the adjustments rendered 
necessary by them are merely the opportunity for 
further self-realisation ? " The question raises funda- 
mental metaphysical issues. The gist of what Professor 
Muirhead has to say in answer to it from the idealistic 
standpoint is as follows : The postulate of thought and 
activity is the unity of the world. As the ideal of con- 
sciousness is " a completely unified world of mutually 
related parts " as distinguished from a mere aggregate 
of objects, so to conscience, which " is only another side 
of consciousness," the institutions of society are ideally 
" a system of moral relations, representing realisation of 
the self in the form of will." As progress in knowledge 
is the growing realisation of the ideal of a completely 
unified knowledge, so " progress in morality has its 
spring, not in mere adjustment of the self to changing 
circumstances, but in the interpreting, constructive 
power of conscience finding in new circumstances the 
occasion for the further realisation of its ideal of 
r3jjo|palised,and unified conduct." The ideal is at once 
personal and social. Forms of goodness have all a 
social character, and " social progress cannot be safe in 
the hands of those in whom the desire for social im- 
provement does not involve a keen sense of personal 
responsibility, and a high ideal of the kind of life 
required in those who claim to be its prophets and 

Professor Muirhead maintains that moral life is not 
possible apart from citizenship. The best that is f in 
human nature cannot be developed without activities 


inspired and regulated by a social ideal. The powers 
which are latent in man can only be actualised in a social 
environment of which the most complete form is the 
state. Human activities are organised into a systematic 
whole through their subordination to and control by a 
dominant plan or purpose of life. This involves the 
subordination of the individual to the social whole. 
What, on one side, is self -organisation is, on another 
side, social organisation. What a particular phase of 
the mind is to the mind as a wEole, that the individual 
is to society organised as the state. The subordination 
of individuals to the state does not mean the loss of 
their distinctive personalities. It means the negation 
of their mere particularity in order that they may be 
enriched by sharing in its fuller life. If the state shapes 
the characters of men, it itself is sustained by their 

All this, Professor Muirhead points out, is not in- 
consistent with the idea of individuality, an increasing 
emphasis on which is a characteristic feature of modern 
civilisation. The individual is no doubt one and 
unique, but unity does not mean a characterless point, 
nor uniqueness mere difference and independence. The 
essence of unity lies in its power " to hold its parts 
together as elements in a whole." What gives unity 
to a thing is " not the exclusion of parts, but the 
penetration of the parts by a common principle of life; 
what threatens it is, not the possession of parts, but 
the inclusion in it of any secretion or excrescence im- 
pervious to the dominating principle of the whole" 
(Social Purpose, p. 102). And uniqueness means not 
that a thing is " singular in the sense of being separable 
fi-Qm other things, but that it focusses at a particular 
point and responds to the forces, physical, chemical or 


vital, which we call its environment in such a way that 
at the same time it maintains its own nature and is 
an essential part of the whole within which these act " 
(Social Purpose, p. 102). True individuality is attained 
by a man only when he gathers into himself the ideas 
and ideals, the feelings and aspirations of the com- 
munity in which he lives. It presupposes social life 
which is " never mere imitation or the reproduction of 
other minds and wills, but the response called forth by 
the circumstances of the moment in a being who has 
the power of entering into a common purpose and 
adapting his actions to it." "All real society is co- 
operation, the embodiment of an idea or universal, in 
a particular form determined by one's place in a whole. 
When co-operation ceases and mere imitation begins 
there is an end to sociality to all that makes a man a 
socius in any real sense of the term " (Social Purpose, 
p. 100). 

As might be expected, Professor Muirhead is a strong 
supporter of the democratic form of government. " If 
the end of the state is the furthering of the good life, 
not only indirectly by the provision of external con- 
ditions, but directly, by the creation of an institution, 
participation in whose life offers to the individual the 
opportunity of attaining a finer quality of social will, 
then democracy may be not only the best but the in- 
evitable form of political life " (Social Purpose, p. 249). 
But where is the justification for assuming that partici- 
pation in the life of the state is not possible without 
actively directing the policy of the state? Democracy 
or no democracy, the will of the people will always in 
these days of general enlightenment be of sufficient 
potency to influence the management of affairs, and 
more than this is not necessary to satisfy the just demand 


that the state shall be broad-based on the popular will. 
In order to render service to the state, one need not 
play a hand in governing the country. This ought to 
be the business of experts. It cannot be argued that 
while in every affair of life, great or small, the guidance 
of experts is essential, politics alone is to be the special 
preserve of amateurs. It is true that self-realisation is 
impossible without citizenship, but citizenship consists 
not in trying to govern the country, but in rendering 
that service to the state for which one is fitted by natural 
capacities and training. Every work, however insig- 
nificant, which in any way contributes to the common 
good, is service of the state. 



LIKE Professor Watson and Sir Henry Jones, Professor 
Mackenzie was a student of Edward Caird at Glasgow. 
He was for many years Professor of Logic and Philo- 
sophy in University College, Cardiff, and has made 
notable contributions to philosophy. His earlier views 
on metaphysics and ethics were substantially the same 
as those of his great teacher, but gradually he seems 
to have deviated a great deal from them, though pre- 
cisely in what direction it is not easy to say. On the 
whole, he appears to retain his original idealistic con- 
victions, but in his anxiety to make as much concession 
as possible to the opponents of idealism, he has allowed 
his own views to become somewhat nebulous. Much 
reading and reflection seems to have produced a state 
of indecision in Professor Mackenzie's mind. Very 
often he gives the impression of being unable to come 
to a decision on fundamental questions of philosophy. 
An eclectic tendency is visible in his writings, and 
although he is a very clear writer, it is not always easy 
to determine what exactly he means to teach. " I am," 
as he himself puts it, "only feeling my way as yet, 
and am very conscious that I have not so far succeeded 
in expressing even the truths that I think I see in a 
manner that can be regarded as clear and convincing " 
(Contemporary British Philosophy, p. 238). 



According to Professor Mackenzie, the business of 
metaphysics is to deal with the universe as a systematic 
unity. The particular sciences are concerned only with 
special aspects of it. They study limited groups of 
phenomena and seek to ascertain the laws that govern 
them. The task of co-ordinating their results belongs 
to metaphysics. But metaphysics is not to be regarded 
as an encyclopaedia of the sciences. Its special work 
is to examine critically the fundamental conceptions used 
by the various sciences and to see how they are related 
to one another. It has therefore to take a comprehen- 
sive view of reality, " to form a coherent view of the 
universe as a whole. 5 ' 

But is the jjQJyxrsfi. jaj^hfipsiit. .whole ? Is it possible 
to regard it as a cosmos? Professor Mackenzie holds 
that the only alternatives to cosmism are pluralism and 
singularism, the doctrines, namely, that there are many 
independent substances and that there is only one sub- 
stance. But, obviously, reality contains both unity and 
difference, and cosmism is " the only view that offers 
any intelligible account of the existence of a many in 
one." The objects we apprehend are not isolated and 
independent but fall into connected orders. The prin- 
cipal modes of order recognised by Professor Mackenzie 
are the numerical order, the temporal order, the spatial 
order, the order of degrees, the qualitative order, the 
order of kinds, the causal order, the order of growth, 
the order of consciousness, the order of value, the moral 
order and the logical order. Within each order, the 
objects are variously related to one another, and between 
the orders there are different kinds of external relations. 
Objects within one order may also be related to objects 
within another. From the ordinary standpoint we 
regard these relations as external, but " if the universe 


can be regarded as a completely ordered system, it 
would seem that even these external relations might be 
found to be intrinsic." From the consideration of these 
orders and relations, we naturally pass to the conclusion 
that the universe is a completely ordered system or 

But the universe as known to us is by no means a 
completely ordered system. In spite of the fact that 
it is a world in which all things are included within a 
single system of space and time and are connected with 
one another by causal relations, its orderliness is not so 
complete as to justify us in conceiving of it as a cosmos. 
The gulf between the various orders of experience is 
so great that it is not possible to regard it as a har- 
monious whole. Nevertheless, the amount of order 
visible in the universe is not negligible, and with the 
growth of knowledge is becoming more and more 
obvious. The human universe is not a cosmos, and 
yet it has features which indicate that it is not a chaos. 
The.. .only conclusion which fits the actual facts of^gx- 
perigfxce is that although our universe is real it j^pot 
the whole of reality. "There may," Professor Mac- 
kenzie thinks, " be many more qualities in the pheno- 
menal world than we are as yet capable of apprehending 
perhaps many more than we, as human beings, may 
ever be capable of apprehending. There may be more 
dimensions in space than the three within which we 
arrange the qualities that we know. And there may 
be other respects in which our universe is capable of 
further extension. If this is admitted, then the question 
before us is not. whether what we know is of such a 
kind as to justify us in regarding it as a Cosmos, but 
rather whether it is of such a kind as to justify us in 
regarding it as part of a larger whole to which the 


conception of a self-explanatory Cosmos might be 
applicable" (Elements of Constructive Philosophy, pp. 
367-68). It is the total system of things alone and not 
the universe of our knowledge, which is only a part 
of it, that can be regarded as a cosmos. It may be 
argued that even a portion of a perfect world ought 
to be less chaotic than the world we know. But the 
disorderliness of a limited section of reality may not 
only be compatible with but be actually required by 
the perfection of the whole. u A perfect cosmos might 
present, from certain points of view, some appearance 
of disorder." 

Professor Mackenzie considers in detail the diffi- 
culties that present themselves to the view that the 
universe, if not a perfect order, is a part of such an 
order. Our universe, it may be objected, contains such 
positive defects that they are wholly inconsistent with 
the idea of a perfect whole. Such defects are contin- 
gency, change and evils of various kinds. " Notwith- 
standing the apparent universality of causal connections 
in detail, the general structure of our universe conveys 
an impression of haphazard arrangement; and, though 
this impression might be modified by fuller knowledge, 
it is not easy to believe that it could be wholly re- 
moved." Why should there be change and evil in a 
perfect world ? If the universe is rational, why should 
not its rationality be more apparent? The task of 
attempting to solve these difficulties is, in Professor 
Mackenzie's view, "a voyage of discovery through 
stormy seas," and he approaches it with considerable 

Although the world, as known to us, is not absolutely 
chaptic, there is, Professor Mackenzie thinks, a good 
deal of the elements of chance in it. It is true that 

H.N.-H. 2 B 


the progress of science has shown that nature is far more 
orderly than it seemed to Plato or even to Hegel, but 
it is not likely that science will ever succeed in 
completely eliminating chance from it. But chance is 
inconsistent only with a mechanical interpretation of 
nature, not with a teleological conception of its orderli- 
ness. It may be due to the fragmentariness of our 
knowledge of the universe, and " is not necessarily a 
fatal bar to the view that the universe as we know it 
may be a part of a perfect cosmos." 

The problem of change has always been troublesome 
to philosophers. They have often assumed that the 
perfect must be eternal and unchanging and change is 
only an illusion. But even an illusion is a fact and has 
got to be explained. The key to the solution of the 
problem is to be found in the recognition that " the 
changing system of our experience is to be taken as only 
a partial aspect of a more complete whole." Permanence 
has no meaning apart from change, nor change apart 
from permanence. " In apprehending what changes, we 
apprehend it as still persisting." 

"The problem of evil," says Professor Mackenzie, 
" is probably the hardest of all those that stand in the 
way of the conception of a perfect cosmos." The diffi- 
culty is to^ understand how there can be any place for 
evil in a perfect world. It is scarcely possible to deny 
the reality of evil. The innumerable forms of it afflict 
us every day in our life. If we are justified in believing 
that the universe is perfect, evil must in some way con- 
tribute to its perfection. We are apt to think that 
perfection is exclusive of change and process. The 
truth, however, is that it can be positively thought of 
only as that which satisfies the totality of our desires, 
and this means that it cannot be immediately attained. 


" Now, if perfection is actually to be realised through 
a process, it would seem that an actual lack of perfection 
is involved in its very essence; and this can hardly be 
thought of otherwise than as implying evil." The per- 
fection of the universe implies the elements of negation 
and conflict. " There can be no real unity without 
differentiation; and this involves the breaking up of the 
harmony of the whole and its restoration again. The 
broken music which arises in this process may, from 
the point of view of the whole, seem perfect harmony; 
but for us who are at the point of view of the parts, 
there is necessarily something of the nature of evil " 
(Outlines of Metaphysics, p. 155). 

" The apparent contingency, change and evil," con- 
cludes Professor Mackenzie, " that we find in the Uni- 
verse as ^e know it, might all be regarded as compatible 
with the reality of a perfect order, if we could suppose 
that the whole is in its essence spiritual, that it realises 
itself through a process of change, involving in its 
initial stages a certain lack of order and consequent 
appearance of contingency and evil, but advancing by 
degrees to a complete unity in which the process is 
eternally and consciously retained " (Elements of Con- 
structive Philosophy, p. 392). 

Professor Mackenzie holds that the conception of 
the universe as a self-explanatory system is the only 
one that can give satisfaction to the mind. The demand 
of our nature for an ultimate explanation of what we 
know cannot be permanently stifled. It would be 
satisfied if we could view " the universe as essentially 
a spiritual unity, the guiding principle in which may 
be described as God." Professor Mackenzie sees many 
dijfficulties in the way of such a conclusion, but, on the 
whole, he is inclined to think that " there is no inherent 


absurdity in the conception of a perfect whole containing 
parts that, in themselves, are imperfect and evil." The 
infinite and perfect does not exclude the finite and 
imperfect but contains them within itself as its own 
necessary elements. We make perfection meaningless 
when we attempt to think of it as something absolutely 
apart from its opposite. " That there may be Order, 
we have to think of it as the arranging of something 
that, apart from such arranging, would be Disorder. 
Now, if this is once admitted, it would seem that there 
can hardly be any limit to the degree of disorder that 
may be allowed to enter into the constitution of a per- 
fect whole. The more disorder, it may be urged, the 
greater is the resulting harmony " (Elements of Con- 
structive Philosophy, pp. 439-40). All that is required 
is that the element of imperfection should be subor- 
dinated to the perfection of the whole. Our universe 
which is so imperfect and in which evil is so rampant 
" might be regarded as a real and vital part of a perfect 
cosmos. " 

From his general standpoint, Professor Mackenzie 
interprets human life as " a partial manifestation of the 
life of an eternal spirit or perhaps rather of a number 
of such spirits having its significance in the gradual 
attainment of an attitude from which the perfection of 
the whole can be appreciated and apprehended. It 
would thus belong to the general upward movement of 
the Universe" (Elements of Constructive Philosophy, 
p. 445). The material system represents the downward 
path or the process of disruption. It is in incessant 
conflict with the downward course of matter that the 
upward movement of human life is maintained, and it 
is, therefore, necessarily very slow and gradual. If r a 
great deal of human history "looks like a confused 


fighting of kites and crows, rather than the unfolding 
of a divine idea," it is because the progress of civilisa- 
tion is at every step hampered by the disruptive ten- 
dencies of nature. Without a hard struggle the spirit 
of man cannot emancipate itself from the dominance of 
matter. But " it is not difficult to regard the life of 
humanity, in j>pite of breaks and backward eddies, as a 
continually advancing tide." 

These conclusions are regarded by Professor Mac- 
kenzie as only hypothetical. He is unwilling to accept 
them positively, and yet is unable to avoid them. He 
describes himself as " only a more or less bewildered 
metaphysician, trying to find an intelligible view of the 
universe and only very imperfectly succeeding " (Hib- 
bert Journal, October, 1924, p. 124), and sees no 
prospect *of arriving at definite results, for, in philo- 
sophy hypotheses cannot be tested in the ordinary way. 
The only possible test of philosophical hypotheses is 
" their intelligibility and explanatory power, 55 but Pro- 
fessor Mackenzie does not think that our speculations 
can stand even this test satisfactorily. At the present 
stage of our development we cannot expect to " have 
any complete apprehension of the principle by which the 
whole is to be explained. Rather we may count our- 
selves fortunate if we can < see it darkly, 5 or even if 
we can point to the direction in which it is to be 
sought 55 (Elements of Constructive Philosophy, p. 


Since the publication of his Elements of Constructive 
Philosophy Professor Mackenzie seems to have further 
modified his views. He has apparently been much 
influenced by Mr. Douglas Fawcett 5 s theory of divine 
irrgsgiflillg and conceives of the divine life as a whole 
of which the divine love or goodness, the divine wisdom 


JOT insight, and the divine power or creative imagination 
.are distinguishable aspects. He suggests that "the 
eternal Love seeks to have as its counterpart a universe 
that is supremely lovely; that wisdom dictates the 
method of its construction, that creative imagination 
brings it into being; and that, after a long course of 
development, the insight of the divine understanding 
presents it to the everlasting love as its worthy counter- 
part " (Hibbert Journal, October, 1924). In ethics, he 
intimates that he no longer follows Green very closely, 
as he did in his Manual of Ethics. "I regret that I 
identified myself with his position as closely as I did." 
Self-realisation now seems to him to be " too subjective 
a basis for ethics," and he is " i^nable to accept the doc- 
trine that the only ultimate good is goodness." He is 

w .w,.i<*-" *""'""*'*'"'"'*' " -*</'"' - " * *~ -"'".- - - -- -5*L, ^- ,-. -~ 1*^ "*"" ' - ' * *" >*, *~ >> - 

"now inclined to regard the 'good life as consisting 
essentially in the effort to create and conserve what is 
beautiful." How this is incompatible with the concep- 
tion of self-realisation as the moral end he does not 



VISCOUNT HALDANE OF CLOAN, whose eminence as a 
statesman is universally recognised, is also a great figure 
in the philosophical world. It is the conviction of 
many who know the value of his work in philosophy 
that if he had not taken to politics he would have 
been in the very front rank of the world's great thinkers. 
As it is, it is hard to say whether he is greater as a 
statesman than as a philosopher or as a philosopher than 
as a statesman. He is a notable example of men who 
can gain distinction in more than one sphere. 

" I am not by profession a philosopher," says Lord 
Haldane, but, all the same, in spite of his political pre- 
occupation, he has been a philosopher all his life. He 
made his debut in philosophy in the early eighties of 
the last century by editing, jointly with Professor Seth 
Pringle-Pattison, a volume of essays entitled Essays in 
Philosophical Criticism. It was a sort of manifesto of 
the younger members of the Neo-Hegelian school then 
rising into prominence, many of whom have subse- 
quently made their mark in philosophy. Among the 
contributors are to be found, besides the editors, the 
names of Bernard Bosanquet, D. G. Ritchie, Professor 
Sorley, and Sir Henry Jones. The volume was dedi- 
cated to T. H. Green, and Edward Caird wrote a 


preface. The second essay in this volume was written 



jointly by Lord Haldane and his distinguished brother. 
Professor J. S. Haldane. The point of view is 
thoroughly Hegelian. But soon after the publication 
of this book. Lord Haldane's faith in Hegelianism as 
an ontological theory seems to have weakened. In a 
short paper in Mind for October, 1888, he argues that 
the value of Hegelianism lies in it^" merely being a 
point of view from which to criticise other modes of 
thought," in pointing out that categories valid in one 
sphere are not to be indiscriminately extended to other 
spheres. It is a mistake, he says, to regard it "as 
ground upon which to place props for speculations in 
both ontology and philosophy." What is essential in 
Hegelianism is its " mode of investigating knowledge 
itself," and not its " erection into a divine experience " 
of the synthetic unity of consciousness. In this article, 
Lord Haldane appreciates only HegePs criticism of 
categories and not his conception of the Absolute 
and praises Professor Seth for having " cut himself 
adrift from Hegel if by this is meant the ontological 
developments of HegePs results." 

In his reply, Professor Seth rightly points out that 
theory of knowledge or criticism of categories is not 
the whole of philosophy. It is rather a preparation for 
the properly philosophical question. This question is, 
what is reality, and unless philosophy attempts to answer 

" il iHmiiM+fHif < ~" ~ ' ' **-- - - J, . > . . , -4 - / J, 

thej]uestion it ^ evades ifs t$3k. It must give some 
cTeftnite account of the universe. The impression left 
on Professor Seth's mind by Lord Haldane's article was 
that " he wishes to evade the necessity of taking up any 
metaphysical position at all. He clearly disclaims for 
himself the metaphysics of Hegel and Green." It must 
be admitted that there is much in Lord Haldane's paper 
to justify this impression. 


But Lord Haldane's distrust of Hegel's metaphysical 
construction did not last long. In his Pathway to 
Reality he returns to his earlier position and definitely 
accepts HegePs conception of the Absolute. He truly 
speaks of Hegel as " the greatest master of speculative 
philosophy that the world has seen since the days of 
Aristotle." Imitating HegePs own words, " I am a 
Lutheran and wish to remain so," Lord Haldane de- 
clares, " I am content to say that I am a Hegelian and 
wish to be called so " (Pathway to Reality, Vol. II., 
p. 85). He does not conceal that "all that is best in 
these lectures I have either taken or adapted from 
Hegel." The Pathway to Reality is undoubtedly one 
of the best interpretations of the Hegelian philosophy i 
in the English language. 

In his 'Reign of Relativity Lord Haldane gives us 
a fresh treatment of the subject-matter of his earlier 
work in the light of the recent discoveries of science, 
particularly that of Einstein. He regards the theory 
of Einstein as only an application to a particular subject 
of the general theory of relativity implied in HegePs 
criticism of categories. This is not an after-thought, 
for in the Pathway to Reality the significance of rela- 
tivity in knowledge is distinctly pointed out. All that 
he does in the later work is to lay greater stress on 
this doctrine and to explain in detail some of its 

The Hegelian theory which Lord Haldane whole- 
heartedly accepts is that reality is no other than mind 
at the highest level of its self -comprehension. It is not 
something different from the world in which we live, 
but the self- same world adequately comprehended. 
"Viewed from a different standpoint, and with fuller 
insight, this world may turn out to be but appearance 


and God the Ultimate Reality disclosing Himself in that 
very appearance" (Pathway to Reality, Vol. L, p. 17). 
Nature, man and God are not different entities, but 
only distinguishable phases of a single reality con- 
templated from different standpoints. " To me," says 
Lord Haldane, " it seems that by God we mean and 
can only mean that which is most real, the ultimate 
reality into which all else can be resolved, and which 
cannot itself be resolved into anything beyond; that 
in terms of which all else can be expressed and which 
cannot be itself expressed in terms of anything outside 
itself" (Pathway to Reality, Vol. L, p. 19). Such a 
view of reality is very different from that of the men 
of science of the Victorian age who split up nature into 
two halves, one the genuine objective reality and the 
other but appearances in the mind. The real faorld was 
supposed to consist of an " assemblage of atoms and 
energy" in "a self -subsisting and uniform system of 
space and time, with its points and instants independent 
of the events that occurred at them." The qualities 
called secondary, which the plain man attributes to 
things, were regarded as existing only in relation to the 
mind of the percipient. This attitude, Lord Haldane 
thinks, is no longer prevalent. " People do not now try 
to bifurcate ^nature in the old fashion." It is realised 
that all the various contents of experience are actually 
there in the world as its distinguishable aspects. If 
reality has mechanical features, it no less has the features 
with which biology deals. And it is mind as much as 
life. " Separation in standpoint, or in order and level 
in knowledge, is thus tending to supersede the notion 
of separation in existence." 

This changed outlook, Lord Haldane thinks, f is 
largely due to the Kantian criticism. The essence of 


Kant's achievement is to show that meaning cannot be 
separated from experience. " The mind found as there 
in nature what was of its own character and content, in 
objective form." Without being intelligible nothing 
can be real. The error of Kant was to " lay [know- 
ledge] out on the dissecting table for dismemberment," 
to break it up into factors wrongly supposed to be 
independent. When this error is corrected, it is seen 
that " Reality lies in the foundational character of know- 
ledge, and in the distinction between perceiver and per- 
ceived, knower and known, as being distinctions falling 
inside the entirety of that foundational character, in 
as much as they are made by and within knowledge 
itself " (Reign of Relativity, p. 27). Do what we may, 
we cannot go behind knowledge itself. 

Although reality is one, it may be viewed for dif- 
ferent purposes from different standpoints. The mathe- 
matician, for example, fixes his attention upon the 
most general relations of things in time and space and 
abstracts from all other qualities which they possess. In 
this way he is enabled to accomplish the special purpose 
he has in view. Similarly, the physicist ignores every- 
thing except atoms and their movements and works 
with such conceptions as causality and conservation of 
energy. This does not mean that things are nothing 
more than matter and motion to which everything else 
is to be reduced. From the biologist's point of view, 
life as a self -conserving whole in which the parts co- 
operate for the fulfilment of an end is as real as the 
aspects of nature with which the physicist deals. The 
conceptions or categories with which the sciences work 
in their respective spheres are not to be hypostatised into 
independent entities, but are to be regarded as the stages 
through which the mind passes in the process of its self- 


comprehension. The conception which is valid at one 
level of thought is not so at another. The varying 
outlooks do not conflict because they belong to different 
planes of intelligence. The great mistake to be avoided 
in interpreting the world is that of letting some of its 
aspects dominate and even negative the other aspects, 
of supposing that " what is in truth only a mere aspect 
of reality is the manifestation of its exclusive and 
ultimate nature." 

With this principle of relativity philosophy has always 
been more or less familiar. It has recently been 
brought into prominence by science. " The researches 
of Einstein," says Lord Haldane, " have given a fresh 
importance to the principle of relativity." But the 
theory of Einstein is only a special application of the 
general principle. In the widest sense relativity means 
that reality has distinguishable degrees or grades jfor, the 
interpretation of which conceptions of different kinds 
are needed. The categories which express the nature 
of reality from one point of view fail to do so from 
another. We must, therefore, guard against the ten- 
dency " to slip inconsiderately from the terms of one 
order of thought which is appropriate to the facts which 
are actual into the terms of a different order which is 
not so apprgpriate." The various levels of thought are 
relative to the corresponding levels of reality. In dis- 
tinguishing these levels we do not distinguish indepen- 
dent entities of different kinds but only special phases 
of one and the same reality. Mechanism, for example, 
is not one thing, life another and mind another still : 
they are but aspects which reality presents from different 

" Knowledge," says Lord Haldane, " everywhere 
enters into reality with transforming power." Out- 


side knowledge nothing is. "To be known in some 
form is the only way of being real." This truth is 
concealed from us by the view which the immediate 
appearance of things suggests that the materials of 
knowledge are provided by the sensations which objects 
external to our organism produce in the mind by acting 
upon it through the organs of sense. Concepts come 
to be regarded as the outcome of mere subjective 
reflection indifferently applicable ab extra to a variety 
of particulars. But " the reality of a world of space 
and time can only be stated in terms of concepts." On 
reflection, " nature turns out to have been permeated 
by the activity of reflection." Knowledge is founda- 
tional. Within it fall all the distinctions we make, 
including the distinction between the organism and its 
environment. But " Knowledge discloses itself as of 
degrees and at levels which are determined by the 
character of the concepts it employs. But these degrees 
and levels imply each other. They are not distinct 
entities apart. They are all of them required for the 
interpretation of the full character of reality " (Reign 
of Relativity, p. 124). The principle of relativity 
means that the distinguishable orders in knowledge 
" imply, as determining their meanings, conceptions 
of characters logically diverse like those of mechanism, 
of life, of instinct and of conscious intelligence." The 
validity of each conception is limited to the particular 
grade of reality to which it is appropriate. Truth, 
therefore, is more than the fragmentary view of the 
universe which is all that we can get within the domain 
of a particular science. It " must imply the whole and 
nothing short of the whole, whether the whole be 
actually and fully attainable by the human mind or 
not." Ideally, it lies in the exhibition of the universe 


as " embodying in a self -completing entirety a plurality 
of orders in existence as well as in knowledge of that 

Lord Haldane argues that what stands in the way 
of our realising that knowledge is the ultimate reality 
is the notion that it is the property of the finite mind 
which is supposed to be a kind of thing. Over against 
this thing the physical world appears to stand in its 
hard and fastness and knowledge seems to be a process 
set up in the mind by its influence. JB Ut ,m i nd j s r jig t 
a thing at all. It is subject for which alone the objective 
world can exist. For the finite purposes of our every- 
day life it is no doubt legitimate to distinguish the 
particular selves from one another and from the world. 
" Unless I, by an abstraction, which, for the purposes 
of social intercourse, is essential, looked upon myself 
as a thing with a particular mind and history attached 
to it, as a being standing in social relationships, it 
would be impossible for me to conduct any conversa- 
tion with you or to live in a common social world " 
(Pathway to Reality , Vol. II., p. 102). But from the 
highest point of view the distinction between finite 
selves is only relative. The body with which the finite 
mind is connected is continuous with its environment. 
Between the two no rigid distinction can be drawn. 
But mind and body are not two different things arbi- 
trarily conjoined. The former is the latter " taken at 
the higher degree of its reality." Between one mind 
and another, therefore, there can be no impassable gulf. 
It is by their feelings, which in their own nature are 
particular and incommunicable, that minds are distin- 
guished from one another. Feelings have their setting 
in thought. Apart from thought they do not exist. 
The universal forms of thought are the framework of 


experience and constitute the element of identity in 
individual selves. If men were sentient beings only 
they would be completely cut off from one another like 
the monads of Leibnitz. " It is only when the level 
of thought is reached that we can have identity in 
difference. 55 The varying experiences of men corre- 
spond to one another because of the identical thought- 
forms which lie at their basis. 

Experience, Lord Haldane maintains, has always the 
character of a whole. But it is a whole " conditioned 
and limited by a specially important fact, that I am 
the centre in which this experience has its focus, and 
from which it also, as it were, radiates. And I notice 
at once that the range and activity of my mind in 
this experience radiate far beyond what is in contact 
with me oV even close to my living body. My experi- 
ence is always in course of letting itself be enlarged 
by the thinking activity of the self " (Reign of Rela- 
tivity, p. 148). This shows that the conception of 
mind as a finite thing is not ultimate. We are forced 
to pass beyond it to the view that " it is a whole 
containing within itself the I who know and the 
entire field of knowledge, with the conceptual and 
sentient aspects distinguished within it through its 
own abstractions 55 (Reign of Relativity, p. 155). 

An object-world not known to mind has no meaning 
and what has no meaning has no existence. This seems 
to be an incredible doctrine, because the self is un- 
critically taken to be a mere thing in time and space. 
"The irrelevant and unmeaning metaphors which we 
carry with us as a burden on our backs 55 mislead us. 
It is not seen that presence to mind is the essential 
condition on which the existence of things depends. 
" Subject and object are undivorceable." As finite em- 


bodied beings selves are, of course, objects having their 
places within nature, but at a higher level they are the 
subject for which the objective world exists. Within 
the entirety of knowledge its various grades must be 
carefully distinguished. A finite self, in one point of 
view, is a thing distinguished from other things. As 
such it is capable of being interpreted by means of the 
categories which the physicist and the chemist employ. 
But it is more than a thing. As a living organism 
it belongs to a higher order in knowledge and reality 
and its nature is disclosed only when it is conceived 
as " a whole that gives their meaning to parts, each 
of which performs a function in that whole, and each 
of which has itself no life except as a living member 
of the whole for which it functions." From the bio- 
logical point of view, however, self- consciousness is a 
mystery. We cannot understand it unless we rise to 
a still higher level of thought and find in it the prin- 
ciple of unity of all things. In its proper nature it is 
infinite, and seems to be finite because of the obstacles 
to its expression arising from its connection with an 
animal organism in man. The self thus turns out 
to be the entirety of knowledge, and its adequate com- 
prehension involves the survey of it from " points of 
view which differ in their logical character, and belong 
to different orders in knowledge, no one of which is 
reducible to the other, however much it may require 
its presence" (Reign of Relativity, p. 179). The 
various aspects must be co-present in a single compre- 
hensive view. As foundational, knowledge includes 
all things within itself and there is nothing beyond 
it in terms of which it can be described. " Its con- 
ception is an ultimate one within which both subject 
and object fall." 


We thus see that mind or self- consciousness is not 
a thing in time and space, nor a subject with an object 
of a foreign nature. It is the ultimate unity self- 
distinguished into subject and object. As essentially 
related to the subject, the object-world is on one side 
a system of universals. But the universal apart from 
the particular is an abstraction. " You cannot deduce 
the universe out of the universals of thought any more 
than you can divide or divorce thought from its object 
or from the particulars of sense." In the actual, which 
is always individual, the universal and the particular 
are inseparably united as its moments. The distinc- 
tions between the self and the not-self, the universal 
and the particular, arise within the inclusive whole of 

"The picture of a pure self- consciousness," says 

******,..,v,,,,,. . ^..- uw . rt to ., .Aw.. ,* . f J 

Lord Haldane, "regarding things from the highest 
standpoint, finding itself in its objects and no longer 
troubled by any distinction between the object-world 
and itself, because it has got rid of all the abstractions 
of lower standpoints, such a picture we cannot present 
to ourselves, because we are compelled to view the uni- 
verse from the standpoint of the particular individual. 
But by reflection we may get towards the grasp of the 
concrete truth that this is the final conception of the 
self, the real foundation and meaning of experience, and 
that it is really actualised in experience " (Pathway to 
Reality, Vol. I., p. 112). 

Lord Haldane contends that nature seems to be a self- 
contained entity independent of mind only from the 
point of view of a self " subject to the physical limita- 
tions of the organism." The relative validity of this 
conception is not to be denied. At the level of thought 
occupied by us as finite human beings, nature is inde- 

H.N.-H. 2C 


pendent of us and irreducible to mere ideas of the mind. 
In so far as it lays stress on this truth the position of 
realism is sound. But the standpoint from which mind 
is set in opposition to the world is not final. It arises 
from the limitation which thought imposes upon itself. 
But thought " can spread its wings and fly beyond the 
limits of what appears immediately," reaching the 
summit from which it is seen that " the completed 
entirety within which falls all that is and was and will 
be, not less than the mind for which it is there, is the 
whole for thought short of which thinking cannot arrest 
its conception" (Reign of Relativity, p. 196). That 
which lies at the basis of reality cannot be treated as 
a particular fact comprised within it. To be discursive 
and relational is not, ^s Bradley supposes, the. whole 
nature of thought. It takes the relational form in order 
to accomplish limited purposes, but it has the power to 
rise above its self-limitation. If it distinguishes and 
relates, it also transcends the distinctions which it 
sets up. At its highest level it is the all-embracing 
experience of which feeling and^ will are aspects. 

Lord Haldane is unwearied in urging that the nature 
of reality is not understood unless it is viewed from 
many standpoints. These standpoints "are moulded 
by the categories the mind in its freedom of purpose 
selects, and they give rise to degrees or levels in know- 
ledge and reality which constitute a hierarchy within 
the all-embracing fact of mind" (The Philosophy of 
Humanism, pp. 62-63). " Most of the confusion," he 
says, " which has characterised the history of reflection 
has been due to the assumption that a particular set of 
uni versa! s would prove sufficient for the description of 
objects differently characterised in facts disclosed in 
nature. The inquirer has again and again pursued in 


consequence a path which has led him away from these 
facts" (The Philosophy of Humanism^ p. 300). 

Reality, as interpreted by the categories of a par- 
ticular standpoint, is not the whole but only an abstrac- 
tion from the whole made for a specific purpose. The 
various interpretations from different standpoints can 
be arranged in an ascending scale in which " the higher 
stands to the lower at once as that in comparison with 
which the lower is less perfect because more abstract, 
and also as the more concrete individuality within the 
limits and range of which the lower falls." Ultimately, 
reality discloses itself as the all-inclusive mind within 
which the distinction of subject and object arises. What 
the general principle of relativity teaches us is that 
because a particular view of the universe is correct in 
its own place, we are not justified in concluding that 
every other view is false. " Each may be adequate in 
the order in experience with which for the time being 
we are concerned, and for each view what appears for 
the moment to constitute truth and reality may be 
accurately described in terms of the conceptions appro- 
priate to the standpoint which we are occupying." In 
the constitution of the actual all of these conceptions 
are co-present. 

Lord Haldane does not think that idealism, as he 
conceives it, has any reason to fear the criticisms of new 
realism. Indeed, it has much in common with the latter 
doctrine. The real quarrel of new realism is with sub- 
jective idealism or mentalism, the way to which was 
opened up by Locke's new way of ideas. Locke treated 
knowledge as " an instrument separable from knower 
and known alike and capable of being laid on a table 
and pulled to pieces." He held that the mind acquires 
knowledge of things through the medium of ideas 


existing apart from them. Some of these ideas were 
supposed to be like and others unlike the actual qualities 
of things. Berkeley denied the possibility of separating 
the primary from the secondary qualities and argued that 
things cannot be other than their ideas. The ideas, he 
maintained, are the things. But he continued to believe 
in the reality of mind as substance and as the support 
of ideas. Hume carried Berkeley's principles to their 
logical conclusion and contended that we can have no 
idea of substance, mental or material. Besides impres- 
sions and ideas nothing can be proved to exist. Thus 
he conducted philosophy "down a slippery slope to a 
precipice." It was reserved for Reid to expose the 
fallacy of Locke. He denied the theory of representa- 
tive perception and stoutly maintained that what is per- 
ceived is not an idea but a thing. In perception the 
mind is face to face with an objective fact. Between 
the perceived object and the perceiving mind no idea 
intervenes. In this he clearly anticipated the new 
realists, who are now busy returning to objects the 
qualities of which the subjective idealists robbed them 
so unjustly. And the dues of things are being returned 
to them with handsome interest. The new realists are 
all in favour of investing them with universal relations. 
Not only colour, sound and the other so-called secondary 
qualities, but universals also, including ends and the 
relation of an organic whole to its parts, we are told, 
belong to things. But a distinction is still maintained 
between mind and non-mental realities, and the function 
of the former is limited to passive awareness. But, as 
Lord Haldane asks very pertinently, " if the categories 
of life are as much part of a non-mental world as are 
those of mechanism, why are not the categoric^ of 
morals and religion and beauty also part of it ? " He 


truly observes that " if the object-world is to swallow 
down the entire subject-world then there is no longer 
any need for distinguishing between non-mental and 
mental, or between matter and mind." If the new 
realists went further along the path pursued by them 
and had the courage to transfer to the side of things not 
only secondary qualities and universal relations but 
mind itself, they would see that cc mind is no isolated 
thing, it is no attribute or property of a thing." It is 
the self-contained whole within which fall all distinc- 
tions made by thought, including the distinction be- 
tween mind itself and the world of which it is conscious. 
The thought of a particular individual does not, of 
course, make things, but " that is very different from 
saying that thought is alien to the constitution of the 
universe and does not in the multitudinous phases in 
which we feel and know enter into the very essence of 
the real universe." 

Lord Haldane has shown how universal is the sway 
of the principle of relativity; but he does not seem to 
have bestowed thought on one possible application of 
this principle. The relativity of knowledge not only 
means that the self- comprehension of reality involves its 
interpretation from different levels of thought, but also 
that it as subject knows itself as object in ways as 
various as the standpoints provided by particular 
objects. For, each of these objects is, at the highest 
level, the unity of mind in which the whole world is 
focussed and represented. If even an organism is a 
unity belonging equally to its parts, far more so is mind. 
It is not apart from the objects presented to it, but is in 
each of them, completely and indivisibly, as its ideality. 
In f its own other it is itself. In no other way can we 
think of the relation of the experienced world to mind. 


What is in all things as their ideal principle of unity 
is realised as a complete whole in every one of them. 
To deny this is to say either that mind is present gener- 
ally in all things but not particularly in any of them, 
or that it is distinct from them and is therefore, like 
them, only a numerical unity, or that they are merely 
its transient modes. None of these alternatives, as the 
idealistic argument shows, is admissible. If, therefore, 
mind is to be regarded as the unity that goes out to the 
differences of objects, it must be conceived as immanent 
in each single object, whole and undivided, although not 
limited to it. It is present everywhere in its fulness. 
This means that what at the lowest level is a thing in 
time and space is, at the highest, a view-point from 
which the whole universe is surveyed and interpreted. 
The universe is real only as it is interpreted', and it is 
interpreted from standpoints as varied and numerous as 
its constituent objects. The difference of interpretation 
is not due to the difference of degrees or levels in reality 
only, but also to the difference of the points of view 
even at the highest level. And the mind that interprets 
is not separable from the standpoint from which the 
interpretation is made. The universal mind, therefore, 
is not an abstract unity nor a unity differentiated into 
mere things, but a unity, a confluence of many minds 
which, at a lower level, are objective entities, and its 
knowledge of the universe is a synopsis of the inter- 
pretations of the universe from an infinite number of 

" Knowledge," Lord Haldane points out, " is more 
than merely theoretical. It not only issues in action 
but it is action." As rational beings men are never 
satisfied with the world as they find it; they seek t to 
mould and fashion it in conformity with their ideal. 


The values selected by them are no more dependent on 
their arbitrary will than are the objects known by them 
the products of their cognitive activity. Both in his 
knowledge and in his purposive activities, the individual 
is raised above his mere particularity. " It is the uni- 
versal that is active in individual form and is therefore 
always dynamic as pointing beyond itself." The good 
is, no doubt, of the individual, but the nature of the 
activity determined by the idea of it cannot be under- 
stood apart from something of a higher degree of reality 
than " the isolated and fragmentary volition of the indi- 
vidual, looked at in his aspect of one organism among 
a numerical multitude." Beneath the difference of the 
ends of individuals, there is identity, and it is this 
identity that keeps them together and finds expression 
in the laws, institutions and customs by which their 
conduct is regulated. Man's " fitness to be a member 
of society is that he is no isolated particle, but a person 
living in relation to his fellow human beings, and per- 
meated by ends held in common with them, by which 
however little consciously, his conduct is influenced at 
every turn. It is by the fulness of the life of the whole 
as shown in his activity that he is judged, and his indi- 
viduality becomes larger and not smaller by his accept- 
ance of the duties he owes to those around him " 
(Reign of Relativity , p. 354). There is a general 
will because men are not exclusive and self-contained 
beings. It is not "an outside compelling power," nor 
a mere sum of particular wills, but " just our own wills 
at their social level." Apart from our own wills the 
general will has no being. It is outwardly embodied 
in the institutions of society and the state. 

Lord Haldane regards the general will as the source 
of the sovereignty of the state, but he does not think 


that it is an easy task to ascertain it. In the result of 
a general election public opinion may seem to find ex- 
pression, but the actual fact may be quite different. It 
is often very difficult to say exactly what has been 
decided at an election. " One of the most delicate and 
difficult tasks confided to a newly elected Ministry is 
to determine what mandate has really been given. Not 
only may that mandate be really different from what it 
appeared to be from the language at the time employed 
by those who gave it, but it may be undergoing rapid 
and yet silent modification " (Reign of Relativity, p. 
367). This is unquestionably true, but then why speak 
of a mandate being given at all ? The mandate theory is 
not an orthodox theory in British politics. Until quite 
recently, it was an unheard of thing, and until mob-rule 
is established it cannot be a reality. Lord Hal'dane truly 
observes that " it is not enough to say that in the ballot 
boxes a numerical majority for a particular plan was 
found. For it may have become obvious that these 
votes did not represent a clear or enduring state of 
mind." The electors, he justly thinks, " may have felt 
the points at issue to be too obscure, and have meant 
that the Ministers in effect chosen should decide for 
them what modifications of existing decisions and what 
fresh and ^further decisions might be required." The 
essential function of the true statesman is to interpret 
the general will. " That will may even be to devolve 
to him the duty of taking the initiative and of acting 
for his clients freely, as a man of courage and high 
intelligence should act, and he may have been chosen 
more on the ground of faith in his possession dr these 
qualities than in order that he might take some specific 
action which the nation feels that it has not adequately 
thought out. Democracy, even in its most complete and 


thoroughgoing form, may imply all this" (Reign of 
Relativity, p. 368). But is not this a fancy-picture of 
democracy? Is it the thing that we know in actual 
working in various countries? Between the statesman 
as Lord Haldane conceives him and the demagogic 
politician practised in the art of vote-catching, is there 
not a world of difference? What Lord Haldane says 
about the duties of ministers is very true, but it is 
a condemnation of the existing forms of democratic 
government and a powerful plea for a genuine aristo- 
cracy or government by the wisest and best. So at 
least it seems to some of his readers. The democratic 
spirit has done great good to the world by breaking 
down the artificial barriers between man and man. It 
is removing " the gaps in mental life that exist to-day." 
After a la'pse of two thousand years it is at last making 
the Christian doctrine of the brotherhood of man a 
really guiding principle in life. But in so far as it 
has ushered in the kind of government under which 
the thoughtful and worthy few are liable to be at the 
mercy of the thoughtless many, the capable and enter- 
prising at the mercy of the never-do-well and lazy, 
the kind of government which, in its helpless depend- 
ence on the fickle will of a short-sighted multitude, 
is unable to do its first duty of governing properly, it 
has effected a change the full consequences of which it 
is not yet possible to calculate. Democracy, as we 
know it to-day, is no more a success than the forms 
of government it has supplanted. A constitution in 
which those who should be the representatives of the 
people interpreting their real will are merely their dele- 
gates pledge-bound to carry out their mandates is as 
indefensible as irresponsible autocracy. If civilisation 
is to endure, the human spirit must be equal to the 


task of evolving a type of government which shall 
eschew the errors of democracy while satisfying its 
demand for equal opportunities for all. The eager- 
ness of impatient idealists, or rather visionaries, to 
introduce it everywhere in the world needs to be 
checked. As the support of public opinion is essential 
to the existence and well-being of a state, representative 
government is, no doubt, the ideal, but representative 
government does not necessarily mean democracy. 

The spirit of man that creates the fabric of the state 
also rises above its limitations. In virtue of their 
common human nature, men and women, however great 
their national differences may be, are capable of develop- 
ing a common ideal. The state, therefore, can never 
be the final embodiment of the mind of a people. " The 
world is becoming more and more international. States 
are not isolated units. They continue to subsist only 
through relations with other states, relations which tend 
to multiply in volume as well as intensity, and which 
show no prospect of being superseded " (Reign of 
Relativity , p. 375). As the citizens of a state are related 
to one another, so are the sovereign states of the world, 
although there is no universal empire to which they are 
subordinated. The need for an international bond of 
union finds expression, Lord Haldane thinks, in the 
desire for a league of nations. He regards its founda- 
tion as a hopeful sign of the times, although its growth 
depends upon the amount of the general goodwill it 
can secure. His attitude towards it is neither that of 
the pessimist who thinks that no good can ever come 
from it, nor that of the fanatic who imagines * that it 
has brought in the millennium. He takes a hopeful 
view of its future because he thinks that " there ^re 
already some indications that higher than merely 


national purposes are moving mankind and that it is 
struggling to express them in institutions that may in 
the end prove to have dominating influence." 

Passing on to the discussion of the relation of man 
to God, Lord Haldane begins by pointing out that God 
cannot be a thing or substance. A thing is limited and 
distinguished from other things, which God is not. Nor 
is He a transcendent being beyond the reach of know- 
ledge. He is rightly conceived as subject provided that 
we do not regard the object as foreign to it. God " must 
not stand for less than entirety, and such an entirety 
must be that within which all distinctions and resulting 
relations can fall." The object of the divine mind must 
be within itself. " It must find the necessary distinc- 
tion from itself in an Other that is just itself. The mind 
of God rriust have in its Other itself, and must recognise 
in that Other just Himself in the form of otherness " 
(Pathway to Reality, Vol. II., p. 156). Lord Haldane 
agrees with Hegel in thinking that the Christian doc- 
trine of the Trinity gives expression to this idea in a 
symbolical form. Mind in itself is the Father, mind 
" gone into otherness, hetereity, finite mind " is the Son, 
and the Holy Spirit is the fulness of self- consciousness 
in which the opposition of subject and object is recon- 
ciled. Such a conception is fundamentally opposed to 
the ^istic view that jGod L is other than the^worid. " It 
is just in the world that is nere and now when fully 
comprehended and thought out that we shall find God, 
and in finding God shall find the reality of that world 
in Him" (Pathway to Reality, Vol. L, p. 16). 

" Man and God," says Lord Haldane, " are not 
numerically distinct subjects in knowledge. They are 
thp one foundational mind, disclosing itself in different 
degrees or logical stages in the progress of reality, but 


as identical throughout divergences in form. It is 
the identity that underlies the correspondence of our 
thoughts that relates man to his fellow man. It is the 
same identity in difference that relates him to God " 
(Reign of Relativity, p. 398). The human mind, ham- 
pered by the organic conditions on which it depends, 
is unable to comprehend the nature of the divine life 
as lived by God. It cannot envisage things from the 
divine point of view. But by reflection it can transcend 
its limitations and learn that " God is present in us and 
it is in God that our fully developed reality must 

" There is," Lord Haldane tells us, " only a single 
actual universe, the universe which in one abstract aspect 
is thought, in another, nature, in its concrete, individual, 
living actuality, mind. This same actuality presents to 
us its different aspects according to the plane of intelli- 
gence at which we approach it. With the categories 
we employ its degrees of appearance vary and arrange 
themselves. These degrees of appearance, degrees not 
of substance but of comprehension, give us the differing 
and changing aspects of the world as it seems, and, it 
may be, the justification for our faith in their several 
titles to places in reality " (Pathway to Reality, Vol. I., 
p. 114). . 

Lord Haldane has done well to emphasise that there 
is only one reality and that beyond it there is nothing. 
c Beyond reality > is a meaningless expression. Nature 
and spirit are not two entities antithetical to each other. 
It is not in any transcendent region that the spiritual is 
to be found. The spiritual world is the natural world 
M AJi!&^^-Ji?. ve l f ifltergrctation. What seems to 
be purely physical at first sight is, viewed from withp, 
the revelation of mind. But because spirit cannot be 


divorced from matter, it does not follow that it is com- 
pletely realised in what we call the material world. Of 
the objective expression of the Absolute mind, our 
present abode may form only a very insignificant part. 
The error of medieval thought was to suppose that the 
distinction between this world and any other possible 
world beyond it is the distinction of the material and 
the spiritual. Agam_st_ this view idealism rightly urges 
that the same reality is at one plane of thought matter 
and at another mind. Mind includes the object-world 
within itself. But the object-world may consist not only 
of the material universe but also of an unseen universe 
continuous with it. There is no reason to suppose that 
because mind is revealed in nature it is revealed in 
nature only, and that there can be no sphere of existence 
other thafi the one in which we at present find ourselves. 
In his recoil against medieval dualism, Hegel went to 
the opposite extreme of equating the object of God's 
knowledge with nature, and his followers have endorsed 
this error. But may it not be that medieval thought, 
wrong in one way, was right in another ? It was wrong 
in supposing that the spiritual world is beyond this 
world. The spiritual is not somewhere far away; it is 
here and now as the sustaining principle of everything 
that is. But, nevertheless, medievalism may have been 
in the right in divining that the present sensible world 
is not all, and that beyond it there are other worlds. 
Neither science nor philosophy has anything to say 
against this view. Some scientific men at any rate dis- 
tinctly favour it. Sir Oliver Lodge, for example, speaks 
of the ether as " something more fundamental than 
matter, something of which matter is only a sensuous 
modification," and suggests that it may be the stuff of 
which worlds unknown to us are made (Nineteenth 


Century and After, January, 1924). All that can justly 
be urged is that all these worlds must be regarded as 
elements of a single objective system in which the 
Absolute mind is revealed. Our conception of reality 
has been deepened by the idealistic interpretation of it. 
It will be broadened if we think that its objective side 
is not co-extensive with the sensible world only. 



DR. J. E. MCTAGGART is a well-known interpreter of 
Hegel. He is also an independent constructive thinker. 
Of his own positive theory, as presented in his Nature 
of Existence, he says that it is not " the idealism of 
Kant, or of the school which is sometimes called neo- 
Hegelian.2' It is not, that is, " that idealism which 
rests on the essential dependence of the object of know- 
ledge upon the knowing subject, or upon the fact of 
knowledge, but the idealism which rests on the assertion 
that nothing exists but spirit." It does not therefore 
come within the scope of the present work. But a 
history of British Neo-Hegelianism would be very in- 
complete indeed which did not take into account Dr. 
McTaggart's highly original and very unorthodox inter- 
pretation of Hegel. It is an interpretation in which 
unquestionably there is a great deal of truth. The most 
noticeable feature of it is the emphasis which it puts on 
the element of pluralism in Hegel's philosophy. Dr. 
McTaggart rightly holds that HegePs system is far 
more pluralistic than is generally supposed. His inter- 
pretation of Hegel, therefore, is in some ways comple- 
mentary to that of Caird and Wallace, and supplies a 
corrective of the somewhat exaggerated monism of 
BAdley and Bosanquet. 



Alone among British thinkers Dr. McTaggart is not 
afraid of constructing a system and of frequenting the 
a priori road. In this respect he is a true follower 
of Hegel. The method adopted by him in his Nature 
of Existence resembles HegePs dialectic, and does not 
rest on induction. The part of HegePs work which is 
sometimes appreciated even by his hostile critics is the 
applications of his dialectic to the facts of human life 
and experience. Even G. H. Lewes was impressed by 
his Philosophy of History. Dr. McTaggart, however, 
thinks that " the really valid part of HegePs system is 
his Logic and not his applications of it." " The general 
position of the Logic, 55 he holds, " is justifiable. With 
regard to its applications, on the other hand, although 
they doubtless contain much that is most valuable, their 
general and systematic validity seems indefensible " 
(Studies in Hegelian Dialectic, p. 235). 

The aim of HegePs dialectic is to exhibit the logical 
connection of the categories involved in experience. 
Like Kant, Hegel does not regard the categories as 
independent of each other. They mutually imply each 
other in such a manner that any attempt to use one of 
them to the exclusion of the others gives rise to self- 
contradiction. If we begin with the simplest and most 
abstract of them, we find that we are unable to rest in 
it, but are forced to move on from category to category 
in an ascending scale of adequacy until we reach the 
Absolute Idea which is "present to us in all reality, 
in all the phenomena of experience, and in our own 
selves." The advance takes place " not directly, but by 
moving from side to side, like a ship tacking against 
an unfavourable wind. 55 The lower categories are not 
set aside, but are " partly altered and partly preserved 
in the higher one. 55 It is a mistake to suppose thatVe 

DR. J. E. McTAGGART 417 

extract the higher categories from the lower ones by 
means of analysis. "The dialectic must be looked on 
as a process not of construction but of reconstruction. 
If the lower categories lead on to the higher, and these 
to the highest, the reason is that the lower categories 
have no independent existence, but are only abstractions 
from the highest. It is this alone which is independent 
and real." In an incomplete reality explicitly before the 
mind, nothing less than the concrete whole, the Absolute 
Idea, is implicitly present. The implicit inevitably seeks 
to be explicit and the dialectic movement is the outcome. 
As Bradley puts it, "before the mind there is a single 
conception, but the mind itself, which does not appear, 
engages in the process, operates on the datum^ and pro- 
duces the result. The opposition between the real, in 
the fragmentary character in which the mind possesses 
it, and the true reality felt within the mind, is the 
moving cause of that unrest which sets up the dialectical 

The postulate of the dialectic, says Dr. McTaggart, 
is the idea of being. In it all other ideas can be shown 
to be implicit. It is impossible to deny that something 
exists, for the denial itself proves the reality of the 
denial and of the person who denies. But if something 
is, the dialectic shows that it is ultimately mind. The 
basis of the dialectic " is the complete and concrete idea 
which is present in our minds, though only implicitly, 
and which renders it impossible that we should stop 
short of it by permanently acquiescing in any finite 

The only category which adequately explains the 
world is the Absolute Idea. In it all the lower categories 
are involved. It* contains them as its moments. They 
are real only as parts of the whole, and have therefore 

H.N.-H. 2D 


no meaning apart from the relations in which they stand 
to one another. Each implies all the rest. The under- 
standing, however, does not see this, and insists upon 
treating the categories as independent and self-sub- 
sistent. So treated, they inevitably fall into contradic- 
tions and fail to give us a consistent view of reality as 
a whole. But contradiction is a mark of error and has 
got to be removed somehow. Hegel has been accused 
of denying the validity of the law of contradiction. But 
Dr. McTaggart points out that " so far is the dialectic 
from denying the law of contradiction, that it is essen- 
tially based on it." It insists upon the impossibility of 
accepting a contradiction as ultimate and on the neces- 
sity of finding its solution. We can affirm nothing 
without affirming something else from which it is dis- 
tinguished. Every positive assertion implies a negative 
assertion and contradiction results unless we are able 
to rise to a point of view from which the opposite 
assertions can be reconciled. We cannot acquiesce in 
unreconciled contradiction, to overcome which is the 
aim of the dialetic. It cannot be overcome by simply 
accepting either the one or the other of the conflicting 
alternatives. Both must be seen to be the complementary 
aspects of a more comprehensive truth. " Truth consists 
not of cqntradictions, but of moments which, if separ- 
ated, would be contradictions, but which in their syn- 
thesis are reconciled and consistent." For the purposes 
of ordinary life it is often necessary to treat the abstrac- 
tions of the understanding as stable and ultimate. But 
reason shows that " the lower categories are abstractions 
from the higher, and are unfit to be used for the -ultimate 
explanation of anything, except in so far as they are 
moments in a higher unity." The understanding dissects 
and divides, but at the same time demands that the 

DR. J. E. McTAGGART 419 

separated aspects of reality shall be reduced to elements 
of a harmonious whole. " The need of the Absolute is 
thus a need of cognition." But the demand of the 
understanding can be satisfied only by reason. This 
does not mean that understanding and reason are two 
independent faculties of the mind, but two ways of 
working of one and the same mind. Reason goes 
beyond the understanding and completes it. It solves 
the problems which the latter raises. 

Hegel has been accused of deducing the concrete con- 
tents of experience from abstract thought. But Dr. 
McTaggart shows that the accusation is unjust. Hegel 
never attempted to do anything so absurd. All along 
the Logic implies reference to experience, for pure 
thought has no meaning apart from the data of sense. 
The validity of the dialectic process does not of course 
depend on experience, but at the same time it is not 
possible independently of experience. What the dia- 
lectic does is to exhibit the necessary connection of the 
categories which represent the universal elements of 
reality and are inseparable from the immediate and par- 
ticular. " Since we cannot observe pure thought at all, 
except in experience, it is clear that it is only in experi- 
ence that we can observe the change from the less to the 
more adequate form which thought undergoes in the 
dialectic process. But this change of form is due to the 
nature of thought alone, and not to the other element 
in experience the matter of intuition " (Studies in 
Hegelian Dialectic, p. 1 8). But " the whole of thought, 
even when it has attained the utmost completeness of 
which it is capable, is only an abstraction from the 
fuller whole of reality " (Studies in Hegelian Dialectic, 
p. 112). Of this fuller whole, thought and the matter 
of perception are equally necessary moments. " We 


may regard pure thought as a mere abstraction of one 
side of experience, which is the only concrete reality, 
while the matter of intuition is an abstraction of the 
other side of the same reality each, when considered 
by itself, being false and misleading " (Studies in 
Hegelian Dialectic, p. 1 8). The rationality of the real 
does not mean the sufficiency of pure thought alone. 
" Thought may be perfectly capable of expressing the 
whole of reality, all that is real may be rational, but it 
will nevertheless remain true that all that is real cannot 
be merely reasoning " (Studies in Hegelian Dialectic, 

P- II2 )- 

HegePs much criticised transition from Logic to 

nature is to be understood in the light of the truth just 
stated. Nothing is more absurd than to suppose that 
out of the abstract categories dealt with in the Logic, 
the facts of experience are produced. " If thought is a 
mere element in the whole of reality, having no more 
independent existence than mere sense has, it is certainly 
impossible that thought should produce reality that 
the substantial and individual should depend on an 
abstraction formed from itself." The categories are only 
one side of the concrete whole of which the other side 
is nature. Just as the lower categories are abstractions 
from the higher, so is the Logical idea itself an abstrac- 
tion from the reality which, in Hegel's view, is the 
Absolute Spirit. "As the comparison of the abstract 
idea with the concrete idea was the origin of the dia- 
lectical movement within the Logic, so the comparison 
of the concrete idea with the full whole of reality, com- 
pared with which the concrete notion itself \?as an 
abstraction, was the origin of the transition from Logic 
to Nature and Spirit a transition in which there was 
no attempt to construct the world out of abstract 

DR. J. E. McTAGGART 421 

thought, because the foundation of the argument was 
the presence, implicit in all experience, of the con- 
crete reality whose necessity was being demonstrated " 
(Studies in Hegelian Dialectic, p. 57). The Absolute 
Idea, in short, is real only in connection with sensuous 
intuition, and there can, therefore, be no question of 
deducing the latter from the former. 

Dr. McTaggart differs from most of the commen- 
tators of Hegel in thinking that in the dialectical evolu- 
tion of the categories " the place of negation is only 
secondary. 55 The essential thing, in his view, is that 
each category seeks not to negate itself but to complete 
itself. Negation is of importance only because without 
it, in the case of the earlier categories at any rate, the 
transition from the incomplete to the complete is not 
possible. " The motive force of the [dialectic] process 
lies in the discrepancy between the concrete and perfect 
idea implicitly in our minds, and the abstract and im- 
perfect idea explicitly in our minds, and the essential 
characteristic of the process is in the search of this 
abstract and imperfect idea, not after its negation as 
such, but after its complement as such " (Studies in 
Hegelian Dialectic, p. 132). 

Dr. McTaggart observes that Hegel's method gradu- 
ally changes as he passes from the categories of Being 
to those of Essence and the Notion. In the categories 
of Being, the thesis gives rise to its contrary, the anti- 
thesis, which is only complementary to it and is not in 
any way of greater value than it. Both of them are 
reconciled and find their truth in the synthesis. But 
" when we come to Essence the transition from thesis 
to antithesis is still indeed from positive to negative, but 
it if more than merely this. The antithesis is not merely 
complementary to the thesis, but is a correction of it. 


It is consequently more concrete and true than the 
thesis, and represents a real advance. And the transition 
to the synthesis is not now made so much from the 
comparison of the other two terms as from the antithesis 
alone" (Studies in Hegelian Dialectic, p. 122). Never- 
theless, the antithesis is still the negative of the thesis. 
If it is its completion it is also its denial. In the cate- 
gories of the Notion, however, the negative practically 
disappears, and each category is seen to have meaning 
only as it is developed into its successor. The move- 
ment from side to side gives place to a straight and 
steady forward movement in which " the steps are 
indeed discriminated from one another, but they can 
scarcely be said to be in opposition. 55 There is a con- 
tinuous development in which each stage necessarily 
arises out of its predecessor and passes int'o its suc- 
cessor. "The reality in any finite category, in this 
stage, consists only in its summing up those which 
went before, and in leading on to those which come 
after. 55 

Does the dialectic merely represent the process by 
which we rise to the highest level of thought or does 
it indicate the nature of the relation which the cate- 
gories bear to one another as moments of the Absolute 
Idea? AH the stages of thought through which the 
dialectic passes are contained as its constituent elements 
in the Absolute Idea. It is not " something which 
is reached by the dialectic, and which then exists 
independently of the manner in which it was reached. 55 
Is the relation of the categories as moments of the 
Absolute Idea the same as their relation in the dialectic 
process? Dr. McTaggart's answer to the question is 
that " the dialectic does not adequately represent fhe 
nature of pure thought itself, although it does repre- 

DR. J. E. McTAGGART 423 

sent the inevitable course our minds are logically bound 
to follow when they attempt to deal with pure thought." 
A subjective element is invariably mixed up with our 
view of the ultimate nature of the relations between 
the categories. The reason is that we have necessarily 
to begin with the knowledge of only a part of reality 
and to laboriously work up to such knowledge of the 
whole as it is possible for us to acquire. The effort 
to comprehend the nature of the whole from the stand- 
point of the part can never be entirely successful. This 
does not in any way invalidate the dialectical method. 
It shows that from whatever point we may start we 
are bound in the end to mount up to the Absolute 
Idea. " It is not of the least importance what is the 
nature of the road we travel, provided that we must 
travel it, *hor whether the process expresses truth fully, 
provided that the final conclusion does so." Although 
the dialectic cannot tell us how exactly the categories 
stand related to one another from the ultimate point 
of view, it does enable us to comprehend the nature 
of the Absolute. u Our inability to regard the process 
as an adequate analysis of the Absolute Idea will not 
leave us in ignorance of what the Absolute Idea really 
is." Further, the dialectic method is of service to us 
in estimating the value of the different ways of regard- 
ing the universe. It shows us that some categories 
are more adequate descriptions of reality than others, 
and enables us to arrange our various judgments about 
reality in order of completeness and truth. 

It has been supposed by some that, according to 
Hegel, the dialectical evolution of the categories is a 
process that takes place in time. The categories succeed 
one another in time, and reality, which to begin with 
is* pure being, ultimately develops into the Absolute 


Idea. Dr. McTaggart easily shows that such an inter- 
pretation is against the whole spirit of Hegel's teaching. 
It makes time the ultimate reality, which, on Hegelian 

, -- , .__ 4, f ' -jQ.. 

principles, it cannot be. The^ Absolute Idea " exists 
eternally in its full perfection " and is the presupposition 
of the lower categories. " The passage from category 
to category must not be taken as an actual advance, 
producing that which did not previously exist, but as 
an advance from an abstraction to the concrete whole 
from which the abstraction was made demonstrating 
and rendering explicit what was before only implicit 
and immediately given, but still only reconstruct- 
ing, and not constructing anything fresh " (Studies in 
Hegelian Dialectic, p. 165). 

But if the Absolute Idea is eternally perfect, how 
are we to account for the evils and imperfections of 
which the universe is notoriously full ? If the dia- 
lectic were a process in time, we could say that the 
world is gradually passing from an imperfect to a 
perfect condition and the elements of irrationality in 
it are being progressively eliminated. But in a com- 
pletely rational world how can there be any room for 
evils and contingencies? Dr. McTaggart does not 
think that this formidable problem can be solved by 
supposing jthat the appearance of imperfection is due 
to a delusion on our part. How can imperfect beings 
subject to delusion belong to a perfect universe? It 
may be said that the universe is perfect only when it 
is viewed sub specie teternitatis. Viewed sub specie 
temp or is, it seems to be incomplete and irrational be- 
cause its elements do not appear together as mutually 
connected members of a single whole, but as parted 
off from one another. "What reason can be given." 
asks Dr. McTaggart, "why the eternal reality should 

DR. J. E. McTAGGART 425 

manifest itself in a time process at all ? " " Why should 
a concrete and perfect whole proceed to make itself 
imperfect for the sake of gradually getting rid of the 
imperfection again ? If it gained nothing by the change, 
could it be completely rational to undergo it? But if 
it had anything to gain by the change, how could it 
previously have been perfect ? " So stated, the problem 
is, of course, insoluble. But the idealist is under no 
compulsion to suppose that the Absolute is first change- 
lessly perfect and then manifests itself in the phenomena 
of time. There is no such thing as perfection apart 
from the vicissitudes of the mundane world. The per- 
fection of the whole is by reason of and not in spite 
of the imperfections of the parts. Just as the inanities 
and absurdities of particular scenes in a drama, of the 
witches' Scene in Macbeth, for example, contribute to 
the meaning and purpose of the drama as a whole, 
so the blemishes of sections of the universe, taken 
piecemeal, may be the very means through which the 
rationality and perfection of the whole is realised. The 
perfect that absorbs imperfection into itself is t more 
perfect than that which excludes it. Dr. McTaggart's 
solution of the difficulty is that we must accept both 
the teaching of experience that the world is very 
irrational and the conclusion of philosophy that the 
Absolute Idea is perfect and believe that the contra- 
diction is somehow removed in a fuller truth of which 
we, at present, have no idea. " The two contradictory 
propositions that the world was fundamentally per- 
fect, and that imperfection did exist would be har- 
monised and reconciled by a synthesis, in the same way 
that the contradictions within the dialectic itself are 
overcome. The two sides of the opposition would not 
so much be both false as both true. They would be 


taken up into a higher sphere where the truth of both 
is preserved" (Studies in Hegelian Dialectic, p. 191). 
This, as Wallace remarks, " is to throw too hard a task 
on the divine might of Higher Synthesis." Just as 
the opposition of mind and nature is reconciled not in 
a neutrum indifferent to both which we are unable to 
grasp, but in a subject that transcends the distinction 
between itself as knower and the object-world that is 
known, so is the opposition between reason and un- 
reason within the world, as we know it, reconciled 
not in an incomprehensible something but in the 
rationality and righteousness of the total system of 

Hegel never attempted to deduce the various facts of 
experience from pure thought, to explain, for example, 
why "a particular man should have red ha^r." His 
sole purpose " was to point out that through every 
part of reality there runs a thread of logical connection, 
so that the different parts stand in intelligible relations 
to one another and to Absolute Reality." But he 
undoubtedly sought to trace the manifestation of reason 
in the phenomena of nature and history. It is this 
part of his work that is generally appreciated. Dr. 
McTaggart, however, thinks that the dialectic of Hegel 
is of more. value than its applications. The attempt 
to exhibit the working of reason in the facts of 
empirical observation he regards as invalid for three 
reasons. In the first place, we never can have the 
first term or the last term in the various series of 
concrete facts, no fixed points to start from or to end 
in. In the chain of the logical categories we "know 
that pure being and the Absolute Idea are the two 
ends. In the second place, the course of the dialectic 
process in any particular sphere is continually inter- 

DR. J. E. McTAGGART 427 

fered with by external causes. Actual life is more 
than mere logic. And, lastly, our knowledge of reality 
is exceedingly fragmentary. No philosopher can ever 
hope to have the extensive knowledge, the thorough 
mastery of details which alone can put him in a posi- 
tion to rationalise experience. All that can legitimately 
be done is to attempt to discover a rational connec- 
tion between the most general aspects of experience. 
The value of HegePs philosophy, according to Dr. 
McTaggart, lies not in "his attempts to trace the 
manifestations of the dialectic process in the particular 
facts of our experience," but in the assurance which 
it gives us of the rationality and righteousness of the 
universe. Although we cannot know how particular 
things are rational, we may be convinced, on general 
philosophical grounds, that what is ultimately real must 
be spiritual, and therefore rational. 

Dr. McTaggart's originality comes out most in his 
interpretation of HegePs Absolute Idea. He points 
out that the Absolute Idea is spirit. And it is spirit 
which is " necessarily differentiated." It is the highest 
form of reality which, aj:_a lower level, isjife, and is, 
therefore, a^t_least what life is. Now " according to 
that category, reality is a unity differentiated into a 
plurality (or a plurality combined into a unity) in such 
a way that the whole meaning and significance of the 
unity lies in its being differentiated into that particular 
plurality, and that the whole meaning and significance 
of the parts of the plurality lies in their being com- 
bined into that particular unity " (Studies in Hegelian 
Cosmology, p. 9). The unity that holds together the 
plurality of individuals into which the Absolute is 
differentiated is not anything external to them. Nor 
is it to be found merely in their totality or in each 


of them separately. " The unity must be completely 
in^each. Jridiyidual, yet it must also be the bond which 
^unites them." If these conditions are to be fulfilled 
and if the unity is not to be incompatible with the 
difference of the individuals, the Absolute must be 
conceived as " a system of conscious individuals." The 
unity, that is, must be " not only in the individuals, 
but also for the individuals." By this Dr. McTaggart 
means that the whole which is " completely present in 
each individual " is reproduced in it. This is impos- 
sible unless the individuals into which the unity of 
the whole is differentiated are self-conscious beings. 
" It is, I think, clear, from the category of the Abso- 
lute Idea, that reality can only be found in selves, 
which have their whole existence in finding themselves 
in harmony with other selves. And this plurality of 
selves, again, must be conceived, not as a mere aggre- 
gate, but as a unity whose intimacy and strength is 
only inadequately represented by the idea of organism " 
(Studies in Hegelian Dialectic, p. 209). If the differ- 
entiations of the Absolute are not to be like the modes 
of Spinoza, if they are to be as real and fundamental 
as its unity and to " have vitality to stand against 
a perfect unity," we must think of them as persons. 
The Absolute Idea, as interpreted by Dr. McTaggart, 
signifies that " the universe is differentiated. It con- 
sists of an organic system of individuals. And the 
subject-object relation of which Hegel speaks is one 
where the universe as a whole is object to each of the 
individuals as subjects" (A Commentary on Hegel's 
Logic, p. 307). 

The Absolute, in Dr. McTaggart's view, is a unity 
of persons, but_jj_is not itself a person. It is " thf 
deepest unity possible- one in which the parts have 

DR. J, E. McTAGGART 429 

no meaning but their unity, while that unity, again, 
has no meaning but its differentiations." There is no 
doubt that this unity is spiritual, 

need not be a person. " It might be said of a college 
with as much truth as it has been said of the Absolute, 
that it is a unity, that it is a unity of spirit, and that 
none of that spirit exists except as personal. Yet the 
college is not a person. It is a unity of persons, but 
it is not a person itself " (Studies in Hegelian Cosmo- 
logy, p. 58). In the same way the Absolute may not 
be a person, although its fundamental differentiations, 
among which human selves are to be included, are 
persons, and although its unity is far greater than 
that of a college. A differentiation of the Absolute 
must be personal, because otherwise the whole cannot 
be completely in it. As finite, it excludes everything 
else, but it is only as conscious that it also includes 
what is excluded. The Absolute, however, does not 
exclude anything. All its differentiations are in it, and 
there is nothing from which it can be distinguished. 
It, therefore, " has not a characteristic which is admitted 
to be essential to all finite personality, which is all 
the personality of which we have experience." That 
characteristic is the consciousness of the non-ego. As 
there is nothing which falls outside the Absolute, it 
cannot have such a consciousness, and cannot, therefore, 
be a person. 

In each finite self, says Dr. McTaggart, there is " an 
element of indivisible unity " on which the sense of 
self depends. It is not separable from " the other 
element of multiplicity," nor more essential than it. 
"But although not more essential, it may perhaps be 
called a more positive element in the synthesis than the 
antithesis is. The element of the unity in the person 


belongs exclusively to him, while the element of the 
multiplicity, though it belongs to him, belongs also 
to the outside reality with which he is in connection " 
(Studies in Hegelian Cosmology, p. 83). Finite selves 
are thus " unities of centre/' each of which, although 
external to the others, contains them in itself by virtue of 
its self- consciousness. The Absolute, on the other hand, 
u is a unity of system, and the element of unity in it 
cannot be a simple and indivisible point, like that of 
the finite self." Unlike the unities of centre, it does 
not also exclude what it includes, but is " from all 
points of view all in every part. 55 Not having the 
element of unity, " it cannot have the personality 
that we have. 55 

Dr. McTaggart contends that HegePs view of the 
Trinity shows that he does not regard the Absolute as 
a person. In the Trinity, as understood by him, the 
element of unity is the Father, the element of difference 
and multiplicity the Son, and Spirit is the One-in-many, 
the unity realised in its own differentiations. The 
Father and the Son are not on the same level with the 
Holy Spirit. They are the thesis and the antithesis 
of which the Holy Spirit is the synthesis, and exist not 
independently but only as its moments. " In other 
words, tha Father and the Son are simply abstractions 
which the thinker makes from the concrete reality of 
the Holy Ghost 53 (Studies in Hegelian Cosmology, 
p. 204). Now, according to Hegel, the " Kingdom of 
the Spirit 55 is the Church, not the imperfect visible 
church, but the " perfected community, which from one 
point of view is eternally present, while from knother 
point of view it must be conceived as being in the 
future. 55 But a community cannot be a person, although 
it consists of persons, no matter how complete its unity 

DR. J. E. McTAGGART 431 

may be. Hegel, argues Dr. McTaggart, would not 
have spoken of love as the bond of the community, 
if, besides being composed of persons, it were itself a 
person; for, in that case, the members of the community 
would be held together not merely by love but also by 
a personal unity. 

It is not enough for an idealistic philosophy to prove 
that reality is not ultimately matter but spirit. It must 
determine what the essential nature of spirit is. Know- 
ledge in the abstract that the universe is rational and 
righteous is of very little use unless we can say some- 
thing definite about the nature of spirit. Dr. McTag- 
gart thinks that philosophy is competent to give us this 
fuller insight. It shows that " spirit is ultimately made 
up of various finite individuals, each of which finds his 
character* and individuality in his relations to the rest 
and in his perception that they are of the same nature 
as himself. In this way the Idea in each individual has 
as its object the Idea in other individuals " (Studies in 
Hegelian Cosmology, p. 254). This implies that each 
member of the community of " perfect but finite indi- 
viduals " which the Absolute is, is perfect in knowledge 
and volition. But perfect knowledge means that "we 
^ has disappeared " and 

"realised that the entire universe [is] an assembly of 
spirits " so absolutely inter-dependent that the qualities 
and characteristics of each are determined by his rela- 
tions to the others and to the whole. And perfection of 
volition is not possible without a complete harmony 
between ourselves and our environment which must 
extend through the entire universe. But when know- 
ledge and volition attain such perfection, they cease to 
be distinct from each other and " their real truth and 
meaning is found only in a state of consciousness in 


which they themselves, together with feelings, are 
swallowed up and transcended in a more concrete 
unity." This state of unity, according to Dr. McTag- 
gart, is love. "To know another person thoroughly, 
to know that he conforms to my highest standards, to 
feel that through him the end of my own life is realised 
is this anything but love ? " " All perfect life would 
lead up to and culminate in love." Dr. McTaggart 
goes further. "I want to assert that, as life became 
perfect, all other elements would actually die away 
that knowledge and volition would disappear, swallowed 
up in a higher reality, and that love would reveal itself, 
not only as the highest thing, but as the only thing 
in the universe " (Studies in Hegelian Cosmology, p. 

The Absolute is " not an aggregate but X system." 
It is the most perfect unity of its differentiations. 
These differentiations are selves, each of which has a 
unique character distinguishing it from the rest. This 
is possible because the selves are most intimately con- 
nected with one another. The differentiation of the 
individuals has no meaning apart from their unity, nor 
their unity apart from their differentiation. " The 
whole difference of each individual from the others has 
to be contained in its harmony with the others." Of 
this harmony, Dr. McTaggart insists, love alone can 
be the foundation. 

On ethical questions, Dr. McTaggart's views differ 
considerably from those of the followers of Green and 
Caird, although he claims that they are consistent with 
the principles of Hegel. The supremely real, as Hegel 
conceives it, is also the supreme good, for in it the 
complete satisfaction of the nature of each individual 
involves the complete satisfaction of the natures of all. 

DR. J. E. McTAGGART 4 33 

Such a supreme good contains the two elements of per- 
fection and happiness, both of which are essential. It 
cannot be identified with mere pleasure. But Dr. 
McTaggart does not think that the supreme good can 
be the moral criterion. It is not usable in practice. 
In deciding which of the alternative lines of action in 
a given situation should be preferred, it is useless to 
ask which will contribute most to perfection. We have 
no means of answering the question. Perfection is so 
remote from us that it gives no indication whatever in 
any particular case what is the right thing to do. We 
need guidance in our choice of the ends immediately 
before us, but for this the idea of perfection is of no 
use. Moreover, " Hegel has shown that good never 
comes except out of conquered evil, and that evil must 
arise before it can be conquered. To bring our conduct 
to-day as close as possible to the supreme good may be 
to help or to hinder the coming of the supreme good 
in all its perfection " (Studies in Hegelian Cosmology , 
pp. 98-99). 

The case is otherwise with hedonism. It does give 
us a perfectly definite and available criterion by which 
we can judge the Tightness or wrongness of actions. 
4: The use of this criterion is not incompatible with the 
recognition of perfection as the supreme good, and 
would give us, if not unerring guidance, still guidance 
less erroneous than would be afforded by any other 
applicable criterion " (Studies in Hegelian Cosmology , 
p. 99). Dr. McTaggart makes light of the various 
objections that have been urged against hedonism, but 
it cannot be said that he has succeeded in meeting them. 
He admits, however, that happiness is not always a 
correct criterion. The good implies both order and pro- 
gress. Of the former, happiness is a reliable indication, 

H.N.-H. 2E 


but progress is often brought about at the sacrifice of 
pleasure, " although in the long run the greatest 
development and the greatest happiness are insepar- 
able." When actions calculated to promote happiness 
have an adverse effect on the development of our ideals, 
an insoluble moral problem arises. But the cause of 
progress can take care of itself. Dr. McTaggart finds 
consolation in the reflection that " the attainment of the 
good does not ultimately depend upon action. 55 " If 
the nature of reality was hostile or indifferent to the 
good, nothing but the most meagre and transitory gains 
could ever be made by creatures so weak and insig- 
nificant as we should be in such a universe. But, if 
as Hegel teaches us, that which we recognise as the 
supreme good is also the supreme reality, then it must 
inevitably realise itself in the temporal process, and 
no mistakes of ours can hinder the advance and the 
eventual attainment 55 (Studies in Hegelian Cosmology, 
p. 127). 

Dr. McTaggart has given a very interesting exposi- 
tion of Hegel's doctrine of sin and virtue. He points 
out that for Hegel there is no absolute opposition be- 
t!n^-llDQral goorf anr ^ mnraLpyil Sin is the assertion 
of the particular will of the individual, his isolation of 
himself ffom the universal order. But in the scale of 
values it is higherJJwi. JJ15.P cence > which consists in the 
absence of will. Of course, no self- conscious being can 
be completely devoid of will. He can only approximate 
to that condition. What has no will of its own is 
necessarily in harmony with the universe, for, as ele- 
ments of it, all things must be compatible with one 
another. Innocence, therefore, is so far good. But, 
from another point of view, it is an evil for a rational 
being like man to be in a state of innocence. His ideal 

DR. J. E. McTAGGART 435 

is to be a self- determining being, to be in harmony with 
the universe " not merely as a part which cannot be out 
of harmony," but " in the way which is appropriate to 
a conscious being." "A conscious being who imitates 
the goodness of a stone is not gopd^ but bad." Sin is 
at least self- determination, and is for that reason better 
than innocence. Adam's^fall.wa^.in truth a rise. " But 
while the sinner is right in treating himself as of 
supreme importance, he is wrong in his conception of 
his nature." In seeking to subordinate everything to 
his private and isolated will, he does violence to his own 
deeper and truer nature. He tries to find permanent 
satisfaction Jn .ways .of. life. whick. cannot yield it. "To 
commit sin is very like drinking sea-water to quench 
thirst." As " the universe agrees with the ideals of 
morality," sin is essentially self- destroying. It is in- 
evitably followed by retribution, if not in the life of 
the individual, in the history of the race, and in the 
end passes into virtue. " The true self of any man is 
not something which exists in particularity and isola- 
tion, and which finds its satisfaction in the gratification 
of desires arising from its particular and isolated nature. 
On the contrary, it only exists in its individuality by 
reason of its necessary and vital unity with all other 
selves, and it can only find satisfaction in so far 
as it places its good in the realisation, by means 
of its individual nature, of that unity" (Studies in 
Hegelian Cosmology, p. 162). To be consciously 
in harmony with the universe through free self- 
determination, to carry out its purpose because that 
purpose is our own real purpose, is virtue. It " freely 
accepts that order of the universe which innocence 
blindly obeys." 
*Dr. McTaggart does not think that society can pro- 


perly be described as an organism. The fact that the 
nature of an individual is in every way determined by 
his relations to others in society doesjOLOt^grpye that 
society is an organism. It only shows that j.t is a sjstem. 
Butji system may not be organic at all. What Hegel 
calls Absolute Mechanism is as much a system as a 
living body. Society would be an organism if it were 
" an end to itself and to its own parts." Dr. McTag- 
gart does not think that any actual society of this world 
is such. Only " the ideal society of Heaven," the 
Absolute reality, can be the end of its members, for " it 
is a differentiated unity, of which the parts are perfectly 
individual, and which, for that very reason, is a perfect 
unity. To call such a unity organic would only be in- 
correct because it was inadequate " (Studies in Hegelian 
Cosmology > p. 187). In it "just because the individual 
was such a complete individual, he would have all his 
perfection, and all his reality, in nothing else but in his 
relations to other individuals." Our ideal is certainly 
to realise such a perfect society, and " only through our 
present society can that ideal be reached. For we must 
begin from where we are, and at present we are in 
society." But this does not mean the unquestioned 
acceptance of the arrangements of society as they are 
now. " Our advance often to some extent, always 
consists in breaking up and rising above relations which, 
up to that point, had been part of the constitution of 
society." To suppose that the considerations which are 
so important in our estimation in determining our 
present social relations will also be important in Heaven 
is absurd. "We must express ourselves by them so long 
as we find them the best expression of the absolute end, 
or the best road to it, but only under the reservation 
that we are to throw them aside as worthless when ^e 

DR. J. E. McTAGGART 437 

find a more adequate expression or a more direct road." 
It is not to be supposed that our duty is to sever our 
connection with the defective earthly society, for " if 
that society is only a means, at least it is an indis- 
pensable means. If it is not a god to be worshipped, 
it is none the less a tool which must be used." 




" INTERPRETERS of the Hegelian Philosophy," says Wallace, 
" have contradicted each other almost as variously as the several 
commentators on the Bible. He is claimed as their head by 
widely different schools of thought, all of which appeal to him 
as the original source of their line of argument." .Perhaps on 
no subject connected with the Philosophy of Hegel has the 
divergence of opinion been more marked than on the question 
of the relation of human personality to the Absolute. In the 
judgment of critics of one class, Hegelianism is only revived 
Spinozism and merely inculcates the teachings of the great 
Jewish Philosopher in more puzzling and less straightforward 
language purposely designed to make an old thought appear 
new. Human personality, we are asked to believe, is, in Hegel's 
view, only a transient modification of the Absolute, as evanescent 
and unsubstantial as the passing waves upon the surface of the 
ocean. In direct antithesis to this oft-repeated interpretation, 
we have the theory put forward by one of the ablest and latest 
expositors of Hegel that the Absolute is an impersonal unity, 
a society of finite but perfect individuals. Hegel's Absolute, 
Dr. McTaggart assures us, is " a unity of persons, but it is not 
a person itself" (Studies in Hegelian Cosmology^ p. 58). Dr. 
McTaggart does not seem to be quite sure in his own mind that 
his interpretation of the nature of the Absolute Idea is the 
right one, for he tells us that he proposes " to consider not 
Hegel's own opinions on the personality of the Absolute, but 
the conclusions on the subject which ought logically to be 
deduced from his conception of the Absolute as determined 
in the Logic." Dr. McTaggart's theory must be distinguished 
from that of the Hegelians of the Left, accordingj^ whom the 
- 438^ 


Absoluts is un^pncj(?Mfi l^p^gon and 6l^jLcoines^tQ.conso 
on ]jLJILIoan. Dr. McTaggart, however, holds that the self- 
differentiations of the Absolute are " perfect finite persons," 
of some of whom our own selves are the imperfect and limited 
manifestations. Opposed to all these contradictory views is 
the conclusion of the bulk of the British expositors of Hegel 
that the Absolute is a person, a subject and not a mere substance, 
who necessarily reveals Himself in nature and more fully in 
man. A prolonged study of the philosophy of Hegel and the 
copious literature on it in the English language has brought 
me to the conclusion that the truth is to be found in the synthesis, 
in the Hegelian sense of the term, of the views of Caird, Wallace, 
and others on the one side, and of Dr. McTaggart on the other. 
My object in this essay is to expound and defend this thesis. 
There are three points of fundamental importance to be con- 
sidered in connection with this subject. What is human per- 
sonality, and how is it related to the personality of the Absolute, 
if it be a personajity ? How are the categories related to human 
knowledge and to the Absolute ? What is the relation of the 
content of human experience to Reality ? I propose to take 
up these points for discussion in succession. 

Before we are in a position to determine the relation of man 
to the Absolute, it is necessary to acquire a clear comprehension 
of the nature of the Absolute. The commonly accepted view 
of the nature of Hegel's Absolute is that it is the self-conscious 
unity that comprehends within itself and transcends the relative 
distinction of subject and object. It is the central unity, the 
supreme spiritual principle, in which all things have their being 
and find their ultimate explanation and out of which they 
proceed. It is the absolute subject without relation to which 
no object can exist andwjjogejownjg^jsien^ depends upon its 
manifestation in the^um verse of inter-related objects. Hegel's 
Absolute Idea is, as Caird interprets it, " the idea of a 
self-consciousness which manifests itself in the difference of self 
and not-self, that through this difference, and by overcoming 
it, it may attain the highest unity with itself" (Hegel^ p. 183). 
It is not a unity in which all differences are lost ; it is rather 
the unitv^ which realises itself injliejdlfference^. The Absolute 
is not luce the substance of Spi noza, omnipotent in swallowing 
up its modes but impotent to explain their origin. It is the 
unity of self-consciousness which exists in and through the 
plurality of finite objects and to which they refer themselves 
as their source and explanation. " The * free ' existence of 
the world," argues Caird, ** as an external aggregate of objects 


in space, with no appearance of relation to mind, and the * free * 
existence of each object in the world, as external to the other 
objects and merely in contingent relation to them, are charac- 
teristics which belong to these objects just because they are 
the manifestations of a self-determined principle, which can 
realise itself only as it goes out of itself, or gives itself away, 
but which in this * self-alienation ' remains * secure of itself 
and resting in itself.' On the other hand, this security of 
intelligence in the freedom of its object is possible just because 
its own nature is what it has given to the object which, therefore, 
in realising itself must return tp its source " (Ibid.) p. 198). 

If the foregoing statement gives a correct representation of 
Hegel's conception of the Absolute, the charge of Pantheism 
cannot, of course, be legitimately brought against it. The 
essence of Pantheism is to lay such stress on the unity of all 
reality that the element of difference is simply ignored or 
explained away. But Hegelianism, as understood by its leading 
British exponents, accords equal recognition to, the elements of 
unity and difference in the concrete whole the Absolute. 
We are constantly reminded that the ultimate unity of self- 
consciousness is meaningless apart from the plurality of finite 
objects, and the plurality of finite objects presupposes and has 
its being in the unity of self-consciousness. " As the conscious- 
ness of the self," says Caird, " is correlative with the conscious- 
ness of the not-self, no conception of either can be satisfactory 
which does not recognise a principle of unity, which manifests 
itself in both, which underlies all their difference and opposition, 
and which must, therefore, be regarded as capable of reconciling 
them " (Idealism and the Theory of Knowledge ', p. 1 2). But in 
spite of this clear statement that in Hegel's system the unity of 
the Absolute is not incompatible with but presupposes the 
differences of Reality, Hegelianism has never been able to free 
itself from the imputation of Pantheism. It is easy to say that 
this is sheer misunderstanding, but a misunderstanding which 
cannot be removed even by the most lucid expositions of such 
a master of style as Edward Caird, must be presumed to have 
some justification. Now the main root of the misunderstanding, 
it seems to me, lies in the over-emphasis which is apt to be laid, 
unconsciously but inevitably, upon the supreme unity of self- 
consciousness to which all reality is traced, and in the line of 
cleavage, so to speak, which still remains between the subject 
and object in spite of the clearest possible demonstration of their 
correlativity. If ail reality is at bottom one, and that unity is 
the unity of self-consciousness, its value and significance is* 


necessarily greater than that of the mere object, however much 
the existence of the object may be implied in that of the self. 
The self is more than the object, and the object, in spite of its 
essential correlativity with the self, is, when compared with it, 
unconsciously reduced to the position of a mere shadow. The 
correlativity, that is to say, is apt to become rather one-sided. 
This tendency to exalt the self at the expense of the object is 
intensified by the fact that the correlativity of the subject and 
object is unable to bridge over the gulf that lies fixed between 
them. The subject may have no reality apart from the object and 
conversely, but the subject, be it remembered, is not the object, 
nor is the object, subject. What is more natural under the 
circumstances than that the object, unable to attain to the level 
of the subject, should dwindle into insignificance in comparison 
with it ? And when in this manner the objective world is 
tacitly taken to be less real than the unity of self-consciousness 
which is the basal principle of the universe, and, consequently, 
more and more stress is laid on the latter, the result is, if not 
Pantheism, something very like it. I do not, of course, argue 
that this is our explicit thought. On the contrary, so far as our 
conscious lo'gic is concerned, we never allow ourselves to forget 
that " the real unity of the world manifests itself through its 
equally real differences." But the under-current of thought 
is what I have stated it to be. Emphasise the essential correlation 
of the self and not-self ever so much, the self is self and the 
not-self is not-self, and the two never cease to be different from 
each other. As long as the matter stands thus, the unity of 
the self tends to be fatal to the plurality of mere objects, 
however close and vital may be the relation of the latter to the 

The only way to avoid this difficulty, this irresistible drift 
towards Pantheism, is to realise that the object in which the self 
manifests itself is not only related to the self, but is the self. 
Every object at a higher level of thought is also a subject. To 
say so is not to make a simple identification of the one with the 
other so as to obliterate all distinction between them. What is 
a subject faanJts.own point of view is an object in relation, to 
other selves. As a knowing self, a tiling contains all other 
things within itself as its objects; but it, as an object, is itself 
embraced within the knowledge of the other things regarded 
as subjects. To A, regarded as a subject, B, C, D, E, etc., are 
related as objects of its knowledge, but A itself is an object to 
B conceived as subject and so on. A, B, C, D and the rest are 
thu*s both subjects and objects, but from different standpoints. 


The unity of the Absolute is not something standing over 
against the differences of its objects. It is realised in the self- 
consciousness of each of its objects. It is a unity only in so far 
as it differentiates itself into the selves of its objects. It, in 
other words, is not an abstract unity, but a concrete and organic 
unity of its constituent selves. The Absolute present in the 
self-consciousness of A, whole and undivided, has B, C, D and 
the rest as its objects, present completely in B as its self-conscious- 
ness, it has A and others as objects and so on. As Ribot says 
of the human self that it is a co-ordination, so we may say even 
of the Absolute, that it is not a single unitary personality, but 
a co-ordination of many selves a self of selves. Such a concep- 
tion is certainly not destructive to the unity of the Absolute. 
It, on the contrary, deepens it by showing that in thus going 
out to its objects as their selves, it remains securely one with 
itself, supreme and undivided. The idea may best be illustrated 
by the Leibnitzian theory of the universe as a system of monads. 
Each monad is a complete whole which ideates the whole universe 
from its own point of view. The fundamental mistake of 
Leibnitz was to isolate the monads completely from each other. 
If we amend his theory by conceiving of the monads as in 
interaction with and organically related to each other, and regard 
the monad of monads not as a separate monad but as the unity 
of the monads realised in them, we shall get something analogous 
to the conception we need. So conceived, each monad would 
reproduce the whole universe within itself as its object, while 
it itself would form part of the objective world reproduced in 
the consciousness of the other monads, the monad of monads 
being the organic unity of all of them and its consciousness 
consisting of their consciousness. 1 The Absolute self, that is 
to say, is a society of selves correlated with the universe as a 
systematic , whole of inter-related objects. 2 It, as the self of 
selves, has for its objective counterpart the universe as an organic 

1 The monads of, Leibnitz ideate the universe with different degrees 
of clearness and distinctness. But in the illustration given the monads 
must be supposed to reflect the universe, each from its own point of 
view, with perfect clearness. What Leibnitz calls imperfect monads 
would, on this supposition, be imperfect manifestations of the monads 
which as the constituent elements of the monad of monads the 
Absolute, are all perfect. 

2 The term " society " hardly conveys the meaning, but there is no 
suitable substitute for it. The personalities into which the Absolute 
is differentiated are unified in the absolute far more closely than are 
the individuals in society. 


whole, while its constituent selves are the selves of the particular 
objects which form parts of the world. 

" There is a sense," says Caird, " in which every idealist 
must admit that the only object of mind is mind. Every one 
who holds that the real is relative to mind, and, therefore, that 
the difference between mind and its object cannot be an absolute 
difference, must acknowledge that whatever is real (and just 
so far as it is real) has the nature of mind manifested in it. 
Reality cannot be alien to the subject that knows it, nor can 
the intelligence comprehend any object except as it finds itself 
in it " (Evolution of Theology in the Greek Philosophers^ Vol. I., 
p. 193). But he goes on to say that " it is not necessary to infer 
from this that every object, which is in any sense real thinks 
or is a thinking subject " (Ibid.}. It is not a question of inference 
however. As Caird himself admits, " the only object of mind 
is mind." Of course, every object is not a conscious subject 
in isolation from others or outside of the Absolute consciousness. 
But it can be art integral element of the Absolute personality 
only as having a self of its own. It is impossible to conceive 
of the Absolute, which is present, whole and undivided, as much 
in the meanest object as in the totality of nature, as a mere 
unity. It is a plurality as much as a unity. Caird is most 
emphatic irT3ecTafing that the unity of the Absolute embraces 
real differences. These differences, however, as self-differentia- 
tions of the Absolute cannot be mere objects. Objects which are 
the manifestations of a self, which cannot exist apart from the 
self, are, I submit, selves as much as objects. It is impossible to 
avoid this conclusion by arguing that there are differences of 
degree in Reality. Every object which is in relation to the 
consciousness of the Absolute, in which the Absolute conscious- 
ness is manifested, as it must be, completely and indivisibly, must 
partake of the perfection of the Absolute. If there are differences 
of degree in Reality, they belong to the particular phases of 
Reality and not to Reality as a whole. The empirical fact of 
the differences of degree in Reality cannot stand in the way of 
the conclusion, reached on speculative grounds, that the total 
system of things in which the Absolute is revealed shares in its 
perfection. Npw, if the total system of things is perfect^ there 
must be a point of view from which every constituent. dement 
of it is perfect. It is impossible to say that the universe in which 
everything is imperfect is, as a whole, perfect. One inclined 
to take such a view would do well to remember Mr. Bradley's 
jjpke about {hj best of .possible worlds in which everything 
is bad. 


Caird seems to imply that the view that the self-differentiations 
of the absolute are themselves selves leads to the conclusion 
that " nothing exists except minds and their states." Each 
object, we have seen, is a self from its own point of view and a 
not-self from the point of view of other objects. It is both a 
subject, or rather subject-object, and an object, but from different 
points of view. Every object, indeed, is from its own point of 
view not only a subject, but also an object to itself, but it is an 
object to itself in the same sense in which the body is the object 
of the self that animates it. What exist, therefore, are not minds 
and their states but minds and their objects^ which objects, 
however, are themselves minds. Caird's objection can legiti- 
mately be urged only against a theory like that of Leibnitz 
which so cuts off things from each other that no sort of mutual 
influence is possible between them. Minds, therefore, become 
incapable of having any content except their own internal states. 
But a genuine Idealism conceives of objects as the differences 
in which the ultimate spiritual principle of unfty is manifested, 
which is present in them as their selves, particularised but whole 
and undivided, and gathers them all up into itself without detri- 
ment to their distinctness. 

Now the theory set forth above, I maintain, gives a correct 
and adequate representation of Hegel's conception of the 
Absolute. Most of the commentators of Hegel are agreed that 
the Absolute is a personality, but they lay so much stress on its 
unity that they overlook the important fact that it is^onjy a<s a 
co-ordination, ^community of selves, that the Absolute is ,ajself, 
I agree with Dr. "McTaggart in thinking " that the element 
of differentiation and multiplicity occupies a much stronger 
place in Hegel's system than is generally believed " (Studies in 
Hegelian Cosmology^ p. 3). No one denies that the unity of the 
Absolute is,-in Hegel's view, the correlative of and founded on 
its differences. But what is the nature of these differences ? 
Are they mere objects ? Objects they most assuredly are, but 
what is all but universally forgotten is that they are selves as 
well, selves which exist not on their own account or in isolation 
from and in total disregard of each other, butjis integral elements 
ot^e A^lute^jPei^nalijy. They, organically related to each 
other7constitute the Absolute Personality. The phrase c organic 
relation ' is indeed inadequate to express the truth. Trie union 
is much closer than any mere organic union can be. But 
however close the union may be, it is not incompatible with, 
but is the other aspect of the relative independence of the selves^ 
Dr. McTaggart has rendered a valuable service to philosophy 


by showing that in HegeTsjsjrstern the self-differentiations .of 
the Absolute are not mere things, but persons. But he has also 
converted ah important truth into a sefious error by declaring 
that the Absolute is not a person. I shall have later on to examine 
his conclusion at some length. At present, I wish to dwell 
upon that part of his theory in which I am most heartily in 
agreement with him, and to cite further evidence from Hegel's 
works in support of it than he has found it possible to do. " We 
are certain," says Dr. McTaggart very truly, " that the doctrine 
of the Absolute Idea teaches us that all reality is spirit. No 
one, I believe, has ever doubted that this is Hegel's meaning. 
And it is also beyond doubt, I think, that he conceived this 
spirit as necessarily differentiated. Each of these differentiations, 
as not being the whole of spirit, will be finite. 1 the,gtemal 
nature of spirit to be differentiated into finite spirits " (Studies 
in TIegelian Cosmology^ p. 7). Again, "The meaning of the 
Absolute Idea is that Reality is a differentiated unity, in which 
the unity has ra> meaning but the differentiations, and the 
differentiations have no meaning but the unity. The differentia- 
tions are individuals for each of whom the unity exists, and whose 
whole nature consists in the fact that the unity is for them, as 
the whole nature of the unity consists in the fact that it is for 
the individuals. And, finally, in this harmony between the unity 
and the individuals neither side is subordinated to the other, 
but the harmony is an immediate and ultimate fact " (Ibid., p. 19). 
Hegel defines the Absolute Idea thus : " The Idea, as unity 
of the subjective and objective idea, is the notion of the Idea, 
a notion whose object is the Idea as such, and for which the 
objective is Idea, an object which embraces all characteristics 
in its unity. This unity is consequently the Absolute and all 
truth, the Idea which thinks itself and here at least as a thinking 
or Logical Idea " IJIegeTs Logic, Wallace's Translation, second 
edition, pp. 373-74). This, to be sure, is one of the most 
enigmatical utterances of Hegel. It hardly affords us any clue 
to his inner meaning. Isolated passages and paragraphs, taken 
by themselves, will often be found to be of the same description. 
They are impenetrable and hard as adamant. The only way 
to compel this__dark ph ijosopheir to surrender his meaning is 
laboriously ancTpat i en tlyToTceep pace with him, with bad falls 
occasionally, no doubt, as he explains the movement of the cate- 

1 Dr. McTaggart's use of the term " finite " is apt to be misleading. 
As each differentiation of the Absolute has others outside it, it is, of 
course, finite, but inasmuch as its knowledge embraces the whole of 
Reality, it is Infinite in Hegel's sense of the term. 


gories from Pure Being to the Absolute Idea. You must think 
with him, watch his thought, so to speak, in the making. One 
must understand the whole of Hegel or nothing of him. ~~A 
Tiarcl task undoubtedly, but there is no way to avoid it. There 
is no royal road to the citadel of the Absolute Idea. Much 
help will also be found in the study of the application of his 

feneral principles to the concrete facts of life and experience, 
n order, therefore, to acquire an insight into the meaning of 
the Absolute Idea, we must go back to the early stages of the 
dialectic. But even in the definition of it quoted above, it is 
easy to see that, in Hegel's view, the jatyectL.of th^JA^jLl^if 
Idea. The highest Reality the unity of the subjective and 
objective Idea, " the notion of the Idea " has for its object Idea. 
The object of mind or spirit, in plainer language, is not a mere 
thing but mind. 

The categories which first reveal Hegel's central thought, 
incompletely no doubt, but unmistakably, are the Infinite and 
Being-for-self. Hegel heartily endorses Spinoza's dictum, 
Omms determinatio est negatio. Everything, in order to be, 
must have a determinate nature, but determination implies 
affirmation as much as negation. To say that somewhat is, 
is also to say that it is not something else from which it is 
distinguished. " A thing is what it is, only in and by reason 
of its limit." But that which limits it is itself another thing 
needing limitation as the condition of its rising into reality. 
" Something becomes an other ; this other is itself somewhat ; 
therefore it likewise becomes an other, and so on ad infinitum " 
(Hegel's Logic, Wallace's translation, second edition, p. 174). 
Thus arises endless progression or what Hegel calls the false 
infinite. In endless progression we never leave the region of 
the finite, and have only a tedious iteration of it. Nor is the 
true infinite to be found somewhere beyond the finite. That 
which is beyond the finite, being outside it, is necessarily limited 
by it and is, therefore, only another finite. An infinite which 
steers clear of the finite ana does not somehow include it within 
itself is a contradiction. The finite, as finite, passes over into 
another finite which, however, is not alien to it but is involved 
in its own being, is its alter ego. What thus passes over endlessly 
from one finite to another does in reality abide with itself. It 
is the inner being of the finite, the soul of it theLgsniiine 
Infinitg^ Since what is passed into is quite the same as what 
passes over, since both have one and the same attribute, viz. to 
be an other, it follows that something in its passage into other 
only joins with itself. To be thus self-related in the passage 


and in the other, is the genuine infinity " (Hegel's Logtc^ Wallace's 
translation, second edition, p. 176). What is involved here 
is the negation of negation, the overcoming of the limit which 
finitude implies, and, consequently, self-restoration. Being thus 
restored through the negation but not cancellation of limit, 
Hegel calls Being-for-self. 

" In Being-for-self," says Hegel, " enters the category of 
Ideality" (Ibld.^ p. 178). This is a pronouncement or the 
utmost importance. The finite which returns upon itself 
through the negation of its limit is Infinite and, as such, ideal. 
The determinate Being, " Being-there-and-then " is limited 
and real, but as the unity which refers to itself in passing over 
into its other, it is ideal. " The truth of the finite is rather its 
ideality." Everything, therefore, which exists has a two-fold 
aspect. As_ a ^reality, it is finite and limited and excludes all 
other things from ij: ; but as ideal it comprehends everything 
witnm Itself. What is real is also ideal and the ideal must 
Have reality and fimitedness of being. " Man," observes Hegel 
shrewdly, " if he wishes to be actual, must be there-and-then, 
and to this, end he must set a limit to himself. People who are 
too fastidious towards the finite never reach actuality " (Logic^ 
Wallace's translation, p. 173). The ideal and the real, the self 
and the object, body and soul are one and the same and the 
difference is one of aspects only. On its ideal side an object is 
co-extensivg witfr the universe itself it~Ts omniscient, but as 
real it is lowly and humble, takes its proper place among other 
reals and ties its ideal, its self, down to itself. This explains 
how it is that every particular self includes all that it knows and 
yet excludes them. The reality of the ideal is its body and hence 
the body is not excluded in the same sense in which all other 
things are. 1 " Being-for-self," says Hegel, " may be described 
as ideality, just as Being-there-and-then was described as reality. 
It is said that besides reality there is also an ideality. Thus the 
two categories are made equal and parallel. Properly speaking 
ideality is not somewhat outside of and beside reality : tlie-nation 
of idj^HtyjusLlies, .in its being the truth of reality. That js to 
say, when reality is explicitly put as what it implicitly is, it is 
at once seen to oe ideality. Hence ideality has not receivedTTts 
proper estimation, when you allow that reality is not all in all, 

1 The interesting and suggestive thought of Leibnitz that the monad, 
which, as a spiritual entity, has the whole universe ideally within itself, 
is also a body through its own inherent limitedness materia prima, 
does not, I think, usually get the consideration it deserves. It requires 
modification, no doubt, but it suggests an important truth. 


but that an ideality must be recognised outside of it. Such an 
ideality external to or it may be even beyond reality, would be 
no better than an empty name. Ideality only has a meaning 
when it is the ideality of something : but this something is not 
a mere indefinite this or that, but existence characterised as 
reality, which if retained in isolation, possesses no truth " (Logic, 
Wallace's translation, pp. 179-80). 

Now it does not require much penetration to discern what 
Hegel is driving at. What he means to say is that the ideality 
of an object, its inmost essence, jsjts self. A thing, In so far 
as it is real, is only one among marijTtlimgs, but the ideal element 
of it, its unity of self-consciousness is that which has for its object 
the entire circle of reality. Indeed Hegel, who at times is so 
obscure, does not leave us in any doubt as to his meaning on 
this point. He expressly says that BeJ,^fQIr^fjs_sel%qn^i^s- 
ness t " The readiest instance of Being-for-self is foun3 In the 
T? We know ourselves as existents, distinguished in the first 
place from other existents, and with certain ' relations thereto. 
But we also come to know this expansion of existence (in these 
relations) reduced, as it were, to a point in the simple form of 
Being-for-self. When we say ' I,' we express the reference 
to self which is infinite, and at the same time negative " (Logic, 
Wallace's translation, p. 1 79). .The finite things in their ideality 
are Being-for-self, unities of self-consciousness. The whole 
orTeality exists in ancTTor each of them and they exist in the 
whole. It is clear that in Being-for-self, we have a plurality 
of selves, a connected system of ideating centres, in each of which 
the whole world is represented. What conceals this truth from 
view is, I suspect, the failure to distinguish Being-for-self from 
the category of the one and many which immediately follows 
it. Being-for-self, abstractly considered as a self-subsistent real, 
and in negative relation to others which it excludes, is one. The 
ideality is for the moment lost sight of and the mere Being-there- 
and-then, the somewhat, with the power, no doubt, of the ideal 
at its back, becomes the one. The profounder element is 
temporarily eclipsed and the development in the subsequent 
movement of the categories is, till the notion is reached, mainly 
on the real side. A great inequality exists between the two 
elements of Being-for-self. Its ideal factor is already " I," but 
the side of reality is little better than a mere Daseyn. It is like 
a strong soul animating a frail body. The dialectical movement 
which follows serves to remove this disparity. A serious and 
needless difficulty is thrown in the way of properly apprehending 
Hegel's meaning by the erroneous supposition that the evolution 


of the categories is really as regular and rhythmical as he suggests 
it to be. On this subject Dr. McTaggart has thrown much 
valuable light (Vide Studies in Hegelian Dialectic)^ but even he, 
I think, is inclined to suppose that there is more regularity of 
movement than is really the case. In Being- for-self, the sublime 
height of the Absolute Idea is already visible, dimly outlined 
in the distance, even from the low ground of the categories of 
quality, but, in the process of the toilsome ascent to it, we, for 
long intervals, lose sight of it. If we take care to remember 
Hegel's explicit statement that " the readiest instance of Being- 
for-self is the c I,' what we have at this stage is a plurality of 
selves, each infinite, confronting each other. The stress is laid 
decidedly on the aspect of plurality, and it is the unity that is 
in danger of being overlooked. In later categories, Hegel, as I 
shall show, brings out prominently the aspect of unity and har- 
monises it with plurality, but the result gained in the earlier 
stages is not allowed to be missed. The later stages of the 
dialectic do not annul the earlier one The more developed 
categories enrich and supplement the poorer and more abstract 
categories, but what is once gained is never lost. 

In the Notion, we have the Ideality of Being-for-self back 
again, deepened and enriched, and with the unity of the whole 
strongly emphasised, though the element of plurality is by no 
means ignored. " The Notion," says Hegel, " is a systematic 
whole, in which each of its constituent functions is the very 
total which the Notion is, and is put as indissolubly one with 
it. Thus in its self-identity it has original and complete deter- 
minateness " (Logic^ Wallace's translation, p. 287). The 
explication of the Notion, Hegel calls Development, in order to 

* ... , V 1 *vv^w*"""" rl ; * **^ ,. * -.*""'""<-**-*"-"***** * . . 

signalise the truth that in the unfolding of the categories under 
this section no new element is added, but what is implicit in 
the universal is made explicit. The Notion is not an abstract 
universal, but a concrete universal^ which involves particularisa- 
tionjm the individuals of which it is a system. In it " the 
elements distinguished are without more ado at the same time 
declared to be identical with one another and with the whole, 
and the specific character of each is a free bein^ of the whole 
Notion " (Ibid., p. 289). The function of the judgment is to 
show that the universal cannot abide with itself in aloofness from 
the individuals, but must particularise itself in them, while 
the syllogism exhibits that these individuals, because of the 
immanence of the universal in them, form a systematic totality. 
1% is to be doubted whether Hegel was happy in his choice of 
the terms notion, judgment and syllogism, with their inevitable 

H.N.-H. 2 F 


subjective implications and association with Formal Logic to 
express his meaning. But what he seeks to convey through 
the terminology of Formal Logic is obvious. The Nationals 
the spiritual principle of unity from which alLthlngs. proceed 
ancf To wfiich all things return. Each of these things is itself 
trie Notion with a particular determination. " Each function 
anJ moment "of the Notion" is itself the whole Notion." The 
individual is the universal specified and determined in a particular 
way. It does not, however, exhaust the universal. A particular 
determination demands other determinations and every individual 
has other individuals as its alter egos and, therefore, in indissoluble 
connection with it. The relation between the universal and the 
individual, it is of the utmost importance to remember, is not 
one of the whole and the parts. This is a category which in the 
Hegelian dialectic is long left behind at the stage of the Notion. 
The universal, the whole, is differentiated into the individuals, 
each of which is itself a whole. " It is a macrocosm made up of 
microcosms, which. i&. ail. in every part." The reality of the 
universal, it will thus be seen, lies in the individuals, so related 
to one another as to form a coherent whole. Hegel *would have 
fully endorsed Professor Seth Pringle-Pattison's dictum that 
the individual alone is real, only that care must be taken not to 
tear off the individual from other individuals and the systematic 
totality of them the universal, to which it belongs. The 
relation between universality, particularity and individuality is 
thus expressed by Hegel : " The universal is the self-identical, 
with the express qualification, that it simultaneously contains the 
particular and the individual. Again, the particular is the 
different or the specific character, but with the qualification that 
it is in itself universal and is as an individual. Similarly the indi- 
vidual must be understood to be a subject or substratum, which 
involves the genus and species in itself and possesses a substantial 
existence " (Hegel's Logic^ Wallace's translation, pp. 294-95). 

The individual, it is essential to remember, is not a mere 
object. It being a specific determination of the Notion is like 
the Notion, a self. It is subject-object, the unity of the ideal 
and real, of the finite and the infinite, of soul and body. The 
object is the individual with its subjectivity abstracted from. 
The Notion is realised in the individuals and the individuals 
live, move and have their being in the Notion. It is the unity 
of the whole that goes out of itself to them and only in this way 
reduces them to subordination to itself. " Every individual 
being," says Hegel, " is some one aspect of the Idea : for whi^h, 
therefore, yet other actualities are needed, which in their turn 


appear to have a self-subsistence of their own. It is only in 
them altogether and in their relation that the Notion is realised " 
(Hegel's Logic, Wallace's translation, p. 353). The Notion, 
in short, is a unity of self-consciousness which is a system, a 
totality, an organic unity of subordinate unities of self-conscious- 
ness, each of which, although determined and particularised 
and thus embodied in an object, is all-inclusive. At the stage 
of Being- for-self, we had the unity of the whole rather thrust 
into the background. Now, however, it is prominently forward, 
not extinguishing but vitalising the subordinate selves, the Beings- 
for-self, the individuals. It gives reality to them and apart from 
them it itself has no reality. Hegel's Absolute, we thus see, 
is the unity of the ideal and the real, which on the ideal side 
is a community of selves and on the real side a universe of inter- 
Belated objects. 

The Notion completely developed and as a fully expressed 
totality of individuals is, when viewed externally, so to speak, 
the object. It, iti its perfection, is the unity of the subject and 

the object the Idea. Hegel begins with the ideality of the 

Notion an$ shows that when it is fully explicated, it is embodied 
in the object. The object, again, taken one-sidedly and in 
abstraction from the subject, is in contradiction with itself and 
leads us back to the ideal element, which is all along presupposed 
and without which it would not be. The evolution of objectivity 
towards ideality, we may pass over, as it is not of prime importance 
in illustrating our theme, but here also Hegel steadily keeps 

eye on the two aspects of Reality unity and plurality. In 

object qua object, a reconciliation of these two moments is not 
possible, and it is this contradiction which is the spring that makes 
the dialectical coach move forward at this point. The object, 
says Hegel, is a totality " which breaks up into distinct parts each 
of which is itself the totality." Now the dialectic, in the second 
section of the doctrine of the Notion, seeks to prove that the 
part which is an independent totality, and yet is subordinated 
toja, more comprehensive totality, must be a spiritual unity, 
""in the categories of Life and Cognition, the correlativity 
of oneness and difference is further exhibited on a higher plane 
and the teleological character of the unity of the whole is explicitly 
brought out. Dr. McTaggart has fully dealt with these cate- 
gories in arguing that the self-differentiations of the Absolute 
are persons, and I do not, therefore, intend to say much about 
them. The importance of these categories lies in the fact that 
iq them the unity of the Absolute is expressly shown to be a 
purposive unity. This is certainly implied in the conception of 


the whole which so sunders itself into parts as to remain in each 
of them a whole, the parts, on their side, returning in mutual 
fellowship to the source from which they proceed. But here 
the implied idea is made explicit and prominent, and immanent 
design becomes the ground-plan of the world. According to 
the category of Life, " Reality," to quote Dr. McTaggart, " is 
a unity differentiated into plurality (or a plurality combined into 
unity) in such a way that the whole meaning and significance 
of the unity lies in its being differentiated in that particular 
plurality, and that the whole meaning and significance of the 
parts of the plurality lies in their being combined into that 
particular unity." The consideration that unless the unity 
exists in and for each individual, the unity is bound to be fatal 
to the plurality makes it impossible for us to rest in the category 
of JLife and compels the transition tojCognjtion and ultimately 
to the Absolute Idea. Complete satisfaction is found only in 
the idea of a system of organically inter-connected and inter- 
conscious individuals that proceed from and surrender themselves 
to a supreme and all-embracing unity of self-consciousness 
realised in them and not beyond them. 

The conclusion that the Absolute Idea is a spiritual principle 
of unity differentiated into selves, which have their being in 
it as constituent elements of it, is confirmed by what Hegel 
says in part III of the Philosophy of Religion^ in which he treats 
or " The Absolute Religion." In the important discussion of 
this subject, which throws considerable light on his meaning, 
he distinguishes between, " God in His eternal idea in and for 
self; the kingdom of the Father," " The eternal idea of God 
in the element of consciousness or ordinary thought, or the 
kingdom of the Son," and " The Idea in the element of the 
Church or spiritual community the Kingdom of the Spirit." 
These constitute the threefold aspect of the Absolute Spirit 
who, Hegel maintains, is correctly, though figuratively, repre- 
sented as the Trinity. The first, it is easy to see, corresponds 
to the Absolute IdgaLgJ! the Logic ; the second to the exter- 
nalisation of the Idea in nature and man, in so far as man is a 
natural being; and the thin} J^jij^^ Spirit. God, 

the Father, or, as Hegel figuratively puts it, God as He was in 
Himself before creation, is not a unitary Being, but is Himself 
Triune. 1 He differentiates Himself within Himself without 

1 The " unity " of the Absolute is, from Hegel's point of view, by 
no means a correct expression. The Absolute is more appropriately 
called the Trinity, though even this term, as suggestive of mere numbe|, 
is far from adequate. 


yet going out of Himself to nature and man. These self- 
differentiations of God are the Son, not the Son made flesh, 
but the Son who is eternally with God and is God. God, as 
the organic unity of these differentiations, is Spirit. Now 
nothing could be a greater mistake than to suppose that the 
differences in which the unity of the Absolute is realised constitute 
nature. This appears to be the current idea, but it is erroneous. 
Nature is the embodiment, the incarnation of the Son - the 
self-differentiations of God. These differences being of God 
are God. The differences of nature are the expression not of 
a unitary or monadic God, but of a Triune God. It would be 
a great mistake to suppose that Hegel so constantly speaks of 
the Trinity in order to accommodate himself to Christianity. 
fact_of his life that he, at the outset of his 


ic career, used to ex$ol the Qreek religion of beauty Christianity. Later on, he, on speculative 
grounds, first came to the conclusion that it is the nature of the 
Absolute to be differentiated into selves which form an organic 
totality in which they cannot be isolated from one another, 
to become,, in other words, a spirit and then began to appreciate 
what he, rightly or wrongly, regarded as the genuine kernel 
lying within the husks of orthodox Christianity. The ordinary 
representation of Hegel's thought that nature is the manifestation 
of a spiritual principle of unity, though approximately correct, 
is by no means exact. The spiritual principle of unity is not 
a barren identity, but a differentiated unity, and nature is not 
the differentiations but the real side, the sensible expression of 
these differentiations. God, who as spirit is the union of His 
differentiations, His sons, freely lets Himself go into nature and 
through the ascending stadia of nature and the progressive 
civilisation and spiritualisation of man, the incarnation of the 
Son, returns to Himself in man's religious and philosophic 
knowledge of Him. As such, He is the Absolute Spirit. Such, 
in bare outline, is Hegel's thought. 

" For the understanding," says Hegel, " God is the one, 
the essence of essences. This empty identity without difference 
is the false representation of God given by the understanding 
and by modern Theology. God is spirit, who gives itself an 
objective form and knows itself in that " (Philosophy of Religion, 
English translation, Vol. III., p. ^ T }A Rgjgj_jdgnfity, concrete 
identity, is founded upon djffgr<ence. " It is only the dead 
Iin3ersfalldiiig llmfts selFTSentical." God is Spirit, the concrete 
Universal, only as a totality of His determinations into which 
He resolves Himself and to which He imparts Himself without 


losing His own unity. " God," observes Hegel, " who represents 
Being-in-and-for-self eternally produces Himself in the form 
of His Son, distinguishes Himself from Himself, and is the 
absolute act of judgment and differentiation. What He thus 
distinguishes from Himself does not take on the form of some- 
thing which is other than Himself; but, on the contrary, what 
is thus distinguished is nothing more or less than that from which 
it has been distinguished. ... In being in the Other whom 
He has brought into definite existence, or posited, He is simply 
with Himself, has not gone outside of Himself. . . . God is 
Himself just this entire act. He is the beginning, He docs this 
definite thing, but He is equally the end only, the totality, and 
it is as totality that God is spirit " (Philosophy of Religion, English 
translation, Vol. III., p. 12). Again, "God beholds Himself 
in what is differentiated ; and when in His Other He is united 
merely with Himself, He is there with no other but Himself, 
He is in close union only with Himself, He beholds Himself, 
in His Other " (Ibid., p. 18). " God thoughf of simply as the 
Father," Hegel tells us, " is not yet the true." So conceived 
He is the " abstract God." It is only as the all-embracing 
totality, in which He is characterised as Himself that God is 
Spirit, the true Triune God. The passages which I have quoted 
and many others which might be quoted make it, I think, 
abundantly clear that, in Hegel's view, _tb.e. . .differentiaticms of 
jGod , are ,aat. mere. objects, but are like, Himself subjects^selves. 
The object is the self in so far as it is real, limited and externalisecT 
It is the other of self, its body. These selves, Hegel is careful 
to explain, do not exist in independence of God regarded as 
Father and in isolation from each other. They " are posited 
not as exclusive but as existing only in the mutual inclusion 
of the one by the other." God not only distinguishes Himself 
but " is at the same time the ^ternaj abolition of the distinction. 
He posits Himself in" the element of difference, but He also 
abolishes it as well." The unity of God is not prior to His 
differences. The differentiation which it undergoes " is not of 
an external kind^ but must be defined as an inward differentiation 
in such a way that the F^rst or the Father is to be conceived 
of as the L^t."_ 

A different interpretation of Hegel's theory of the Trinity, 
in so far as it relates to the " Kingdom of the Father," is possible, 
but is not, I think, tenable. It is that God as Spirit is the unity 
of subject and object. As subject, He is the Father, and as 
object, opposed to the subject, He is the Son. This appear^ 
to be the interpretation usually put upon his doctrine, but it 


is not adequate. There is this much of truth in it that God as 
the totality of the selves into which He is differentiated is also 
the unity that explains and transcends the distinction between 
subject and object. What God distinguishes from and opposes 
to Himself is, no doubt, the object or, more precisely, a universe 
of inter-related objects, but the object, Hegel maintains, is 
Himself. This cannot mean that the object which God dis- 
tinguishes from Himself is Himself in the sense that it is not the 
other of Him as the Spirit that over-reaches the distinction 
between self and object. To > the Spirit, nothing ^opposed : it 
recgzici/es moments of it opposed to and distinguisheofrom each 
other. By the expressions which he uses Hegel, therefore, can 
only mean that the objects which God, as the first person in the 
Trinity, opposes to Himself are like Him, selves. It must be 
remembered that Hegel calls the totality of objects which God 
distinguishes from Himself the Son. Now if the object were 
mere object, such a characterisation of it would be, to say the 
least, extremely inappropriate. It would also entail the absurdity 
of saying that man, who is the incarnation of the Son, is the 
incarnation of the object. Of course, as I have already said, 
what is opposed to God as subject is the totality of objects, but 
the objects are also selves. The unity of the Divine self goes 
out to the plurality of finite objects, in each of which, as the 
ideality of it, it is realised. Its differentiation into objects, 
that is to say, is a corresponding differentiation into selves. 
The objects are exclusive of each other, but their selves exist 
only " injlifija^luaJ.Jadusiari of the one bj the other." It is 
for this reason that Hegel says v that what Go3" distinguishes 
from Himself " does not take on the form of something which 
is other than Himself, but, on the contrary, what is thus dis- 
tinguished is nothing more nor less than that from which it has 
been distinguished." This, at all events, seems to me to be 
the interpretation of his meaning which is more appropriate. 
In fine, God as Spirit is^ totality of selves and the..uni.ty 
that^ transcends the distinction between subject and obj>ecj. 
What He is not is a solitary subject-object. 

To sum up : The conclusion to which the Logic unmistak- 
ably points and which is confirmed by the Philosophy of Religion 
is that the Absolute is not a principle of unity differentiated 
into objects, but a self whose nature it is to communicate^itself 
to its constituent selves, in^^"oQ^KchJtJ s P r esent, comgjeteljr 
and indivisibly, and to brine tKem back into its own unity, the 

-pwr^un ^.i.,u.,, J/ ff^ff^ftrtm^m p.*- **. ~, , '-<< " P \ ' "' "'*" 

objective being the otherness or this system or selves. 
Nature, to express the idea in another way, is related to a 


spiritual principle which is not a barren identity but a concrete 
unity of persons. 

In the Absolute as a totality of persons, what is the place 
of man ? This is a question to which it is not easy to find an 
unambiguous answer in Hegel. " Man as Spirit," he says, 
" is a reflection of God " (Philosophy of Religion, English 
translation, Vol. III., p. 46). But what is the nature of this 
reflection ? Is his existence essential to God ? Does God 
need him as he needs God, or is he only a creature of the hour, 
an essentially ephemeral being, whose existence or non-existence 
makes no difference whatsoever to the fulness of His life ? 
Various solutions have been given of the problem. It is very 
hard to find passages in Hegel's writings which unequivocally 
express his meaning, but, on the whole, I am inclined to jtjiink 
tl^hJKgajd&JCQan'5. existence^ essential to the jelf-j^aHsajtion 
the return movement from nature to God, 

man, in Hegel's system, plays the part of the mediator. It is 
in him that nature comes to a consciousness of itself, and religion 
and philosophy, and Hegel even suggests that his own philosophy, 
are the mediums through which God, incarnated as man, returns 
to Himself. The ideas of incarnation and atonembnt figure 
conspicuously in his system, he is almost obsessed with them 
and it is impossible not to take him seriously when he descants 
upon these high themes. Man is the connecting link between 
nature and God ; he, is the incarnation jofjGod, not of God the 
Father but of God the jioru This distinction is of very great 
importance. jvfari 1S the incarnation of the Son. That this 
should be Hegel's view is antecedently probable. The Absolute, 
as we have seen, is differentiated into selves ; it is the organic 
unity of these selves and there is no surplusage of it above and 
beyond them. If, therefore, man is the reproduction of God, 
he can only be the reproduction of one of his differentiations. 

This view is, I think, supported by a number of passages 
in the Philosophy of Religion. The self-differentiations of God 
are persons, but they exist in God as the elements of His being. 
** This act of differentiation is merely a movement, a playing 
of love with itself, in which it does not get to the otherness or 
Other-being in any serious sense, nor actually reach a condition 
of separation and division " (Philosophy of Religion, English 
translation, Vol. III., p. 35). " Eternal Being-in-and* for-itself 
is something which unfolds itself, determines itself, differentiates 
itself, posits itself as its own difference, but the difference, again, 
is at the same time eternally done away with and absorbed ; 
what has essential Being, Being-in-and-for-itself, eternally return^ 


to itself in this, and only in so far as it does this is it Spirit " 
(7A/W., p. 35). When, however, the element of difference 
acquires what Hegel calls the form of " Otherness which is 
possessed of Being," that is to say, when in one aspect of it, it 
is relatively detached from the whole to which it belongs, we 
have the oon incarnated as man. " What first appears in the 
Idea," says Hegel, " is merely the relation of Father and Son ; 
but the Other also comes to have the characteristic of Other-being 
or otherness, of something which is " (Ibid.^ p. 37). The Other 
is a self differentiation of God, the Son of God as he is eternally 
with the Father, but the Other, which also comes to have the 
characteristic of Other-being or otherness is man. 

But apart from Hegel's own conclusion on the subject 
of the relation of man to the Absolute, it is, I think, possible 
to show on general speculative grounds and in accordance with 
his principles, that the essential nature of human personality 
is such that it could not have it unless it were a manifestation 
of a fundamental differentiation of the Absolute. _A differentia- 
tion of the Absolute is an individual which contains InTtself 
tKe content of the whole and yet excludes it. As a finite object, 
It excludes all other finite objects, but as the ideality of it, it 
is such that there is nothing which is not within it. This 
double fymction of the inclusion and exclusion of all^ is the 

rhfrrartfirjfifir ofVhe J&$j^I<faai. What, as finite, 

is a real and excludes everything else is, as ideal, infinite and 
inclusive of everything. It is one and the same thing viewed 
from two different sides. Now the human self possesses exactly 
these characteristics and the legitimate inference therefore is, 
that it is a particular determination of the Absolute, with this 
difference, that inasmuch as it does jiot reflect the whole actually, 
but only potentially, it must Be regarded as an incomplete 
reproduction o? it. Knowledge implies that the object of 
knowledge is relative to the self that Jcnows and yet is opposed 
to it. To imagine that the knowing mind is distinct from the 
thing that is known is the mistake of Realism, and to reduce 
the objects of knowledge to mere states of mind is the opposite 
mistake of subjective Idealism. If things were really external 
to the knowing mind, no miracle could ever bring them inside 
it, and Kant, in his famous refutation of Idealism, has shown 
once and for all that knowledge presupposes the existence of 
objects as the correlative of the knowing mind. Human know- 
ledge, besides conforming to this general condition of knowledge, 
possesses a characteristic which is not a necessary consequence 
of that condition. The things which we know are not only 


relative and opposed to our minds, but are also in a manner 
independent or them. This independence is due to, is, in fact, 
an aspect of, their externality to the body, while the knowledge 
of them is possible because the mind, which is the ideality of the 
body, is all-inclusive. Now this inclusion of all things in know- 
ledge, and the exclusion of them as particular facts of existence, 
is what we have seen to be the essential nature of a self-differen- 
tiation of the Absolute, arising from the circumstance that it, 
as one among many differentiations, is finite and limited. The 
characteristics of the human self as subject 6f knowledge, we 
thus see, are identical with those of a fundamental differentiation 
of the Absolute. 1 Its relation to the human body is analogous 
to the relation between the ideal and real aspects of Being-for-self, 
and any difference that exists is explicable by the fact that the 
body of man is the expression not of the fractional entity we 
call man, but of his true being, viz. a specific determination of 
the Absolute. There does not seem to be the same intimate 
connection between man's soul and his body, so much so that 
the latter has, to some extent, the character of being an other- 
being like anything else to the former, as there is between the 
infinite and the finite, the ideal and real, because the body is 
the objectivity not of the finite man but of his truer self, or, 
if you like the expression, his subliminal self. 

The body of man, as is well known, is an organic unity. 
Ideally, therefore, it must be a system of selves, a self-differen- 
tiation of the Absolute which is itself a system of differentiations. 
There is nothing surprising in this. On the contrary, it is 
exactly what was to be expected. The parts of an organic :_ whole 
jire likely to be organic wholes tTTeliiiseryes. Lf.the universe be 
"SrT" SFgaTiisnTwRTch is organic in every part, it, subjeativelj^is a 
system of selves, each of which is itselfa system of selves. Which 
oBjects of nature are organic wholes is a question on which 
speculative "philosophy can have nothing to say. It must be 
settled by means of scientific observation. In strict deduction, 
therefore, from the principle which has been expounded in this 
essay and which, I am convinced, is the principle of Hegel, it 
follows that man's real self, the ideality of his body, is, like the 
Absolute whose differentiation it is, a society of selves, though, 
of course, it is a subordinate society. And is not this the nature 
of man himself, the fragmentary manifestation ? Let empirical 
psychology answer this question. The day does not seem to be 
far distant, if it has not already arrived, when it will be definitely 

1 Dr. McTaggart has treated of this point, though in a slightly 
different way, at some length and I, therefore, do not dwell further on it. 


established thathuLmanj>ersonality is a colon^.iathfil^than-.aii 
aJbst^aij^H^iy. "^No > o^FTiy would serve to 

explain various normal and abnormal phenomena of the mind. 
Leonie, Felida X, Sally Beauchamp and a host of others proclaim 
from the housetops that the self of man is not a simple unitary 
self, but a complex whole of component selves. 1 

To conclude : The human self is a fragmentary manifesta- 
tion of a differentiation of the Absolute, which is itself a system 
of differentiations, with the aspect of otherness strongly em- 
phasised and in relative detachment from the totality of the 
Absolute life and consciousness, in which its transcendental 
self the self-differentiation of the Absolute, has its being. 


Dr. McTaggart, to whom I have already referred several 
times, is, so far a^s I am aware, the only commentator of Hegel 
who clearly recognises that the Absolute is not a solitary self, 
but a unity of selves. He, however, is so carried away by the 
enthusiasm of his new discovery of Hegel's real meaning that 
he forgets altogether the unity of the Absolute, in the only 
sense in which that unity can have any meaning for us. Jtlk 
denies that..ihg.,AbsoljLite is a personality. It is a " unity of 
individuals, each of whom is perfectly individual through his 
perfect unity with all the rest," by.Lj|_is_ not_Jjself a. persoji. 
And as personality is the essential attribute of God, it is better, 
He concludes, " to express our result by saying that the Absolute 
is^not.Gpd, and, in consequence, that there js^ no God." This, 
in all conscience, is a startling conclusion, and we cannot help 
asking what are the arguments that drive one to it. I am bound 
to say that his reasoning, when closely examined, is found to 
be utterly inadequate to support a conclusion like this. Indeed, 
it seems to me that it is an apt illustration of Mr. Bradley's 
epigram that " Metaphysics is the finding of bad reasons for 
what we believe upon instinct." 

Trie personality of the Absolute as an all-embracing unity 
is clearly demanded by the paradoxical character of each con- 
stituent self of it, if it be taken as the ultimate form of personality. 
" If we ask," observes Dr. McTaggart, " whatj^j^alained 
in^each individual differentiation, the answer is Everything. 

1 This theory does not by any means destroy the unity of the human 
personality which consists not in its substantiality but in \\spurposiveness. 
It is too large a subject for me to introduce into this paper. 


But if we ask what is contained in each differentiation in such 
a way as not to be also outside it, the answer is Nothing. Now 
this is exactly the form that the paradox of the self would take, 
if we suppose a self whose knowledge and volition were perfect, 
so that it knew and acquiesced in the whole of Reality " l 
(Studies in Hegelian Cosmology^ p. 26). And thus he thinks 
that the paradox of the self would be justified and it cannot, 
in his view, be justified in any other way. Dr. McTaggart 
rightly says that any attempt to solve the paradox by either 
denying that the self includes anything which is external to it, 
or denying that it excludes what it includes will simply not do. 
But his own solution is hardly a solution. Incredible as it 
seems, he contents himself with the assertion that the paradox 
of the self would be justified by the mere process of recognising 
that it is a paradox. His reason for thinking so is that " if we 
are to take the idea of the self, not as a mere error, yet as less than 
absolute truth, we must find some justification of it which will 
show that the necessary course of thought leads up to it, and 
also over it that it is relatively true as transcending contradic- 
tions which would otherwise be unreconciled, but relatively false as 
itself developing contradictions which must again be transcended. 
Can such a deduction be found ? We cannot say with certainty 
that it never will be, but at any rate it does not seem to have 
been suggested yet " (Ibid.^ p. 26). Now Dr. McTaggart 
deliberately deprives himself of the means of solving the 
contradiction involved in the idea of the finite self, in the manner 
which he himself suggests. Of course, the higher idea to which 
the finite self leads up cannot be anything which transforms 
the essential characteristics of self beyond recognition, but it 
is to be found in the conception or the Absolute as a self 
differentiated into many selves. Dr. McTaggart does not deny 
the reality ^of an ultimate unity which embraces all particular 
selves within itself. On the contrary, he strongly insists upon 
it. The only question is whether it is a personal unity or not. 
Now each particular self, in so far as it contains everything, is 
identical with the Supreme Reality within which everything 
j falls. Its consciousness as all-embracing must coincide with 
the Supreme Reality, and the Supreme Reality, on its part, 

1 In a footnote to the second edition of his book McT^gart says, 
" I do not now hold the views as to the relation of the self and the 
objects of which it is conscious, which are explained in sections 24-30. 
But I have not altered the text because, although I no longer hold 
them to be correct, I still hold them to be Hegelian, and therefoie 
relevant to the purpose of the book (p. 55). 


must, therefore, rpipridp with Its rnmrionsnpgg and Jience Jfe 
consciousness. I do not see how it is possible to evade this 
conclusion. A particular differentiation of the Absolute, as a 
finite determinate thing, excludes all others, but it includes 
everything not in its own strength, but in virtue of the identity 
of its all-embracing consciousness with the Ultimate Reality, 
which cannot, consequently, be other than consciousness. The 
conception of a particular self ideally including everything 
becomes tenable only on the supposition that, from the point 
of view of the Absolute, the inclusion is also real, and if the 
ideal inclusion is conscious inclusion, so the real inclusion must 
also be. 

Dr. McTaggart argues that "while the unity is for the 
individuals, the individuals are not for the unity," though they 
are in it. He devotes considerable space to the consideration of 
this point and evidently attaches much importance to it. His 
meaning is that as the whole of the unity must be completely 
in each individual and also be the bond which unites all the 
individuals, the problem arises, " How is it possible that the 
whole can t be in each of its parts and yet be the whole of which 
they are parts." " The solution," he tells us, " can only be 
found by the introduction of a new and higher idea. The 
conception which, according to Hegel, will overcome the 
difficulties of the categories of Life, is that of a unity which 
is not only in the individuals, but also/or the individuals. There 
is only one example of such a category known to us in experience, 
and that is a system of conscious individuals " (Ibid.) p. 1 3). 
" The whole point of saying that the unity is/0r an individual," 
he further explains, " is that it exists both out of him and in 
him." The individuals do not certainly exist for the unity, 
in the sense in which Dr. McTaggart uses the word, because 
it is not itself an individual, but such a mode of existence is 
surely a defect due to the finitude of the individual and cannot 
be regarded as the test of the personality of the Absolute. The 
externality to the individual which the existence of the whole 
of Reality for it implies, and which nevertheless is in it, is pre- 
vented from being a downright contradiction and sheer nonsense, 
by the fact that the self-consciousness of the individual is identical 
with the unity of the Absolute within which all reality falls. 
Dr. McTaggart's objection turns on the unwarrantable assump- 
tion that as the individuals do not exist for the unity, it cannot 
be a self-conscious unity. A relation of this kina is not the 
condition of self-consciousness, but the consequence of the 
incompleteness and one-sidedness of it. The truth underlying 


Dr. McTaggart's contention of course is that consciousness 

implies dis tihctFon and ppppsitipn. A 's consciousness bT T37 HJ 

ITTmpIies tKe opposition of B, C, D to A. But the inclusion of 

all individuals in the Absolute does not mean the cancellation 

of difference and opposition. The Absolute, in so far as it is a 

particular individual, excludes others, but the other aspect of 

this reciprocal exclusion is that they are gathered up, focussed 

in the unity of the Absolute, without the difference and opposition 


No one is more emphatic than Dr. McTaggart in declaring 
that the unity of the Absolute is not less real than its differentia- 
tions. To him it is not an abstraction or only another name 
for a mere aggregate. It is a real unity, a harmonious and 
coherent whole. All finite selves which are its differentiations 
are included in it. It is not above and beyond these differentia- 
tions but in and through them. Xh/ e lation qf each finite self 
Jta JifiLJ-Lh&olute is organic. The whole is in each part and is 
equal to the part. Now if the whole, in so far as it is in the part, 
is personal and can say, " I am," how can the whole itself be 
impersonal ? Once touched with self-consciousness at a par- 
ticular point, where, be it remembered, it is completely present, 
how can it ever shake it off ? The part is not a fraction of the 
whole, and it is impossible to argue that though one part of the 
Absolute is self-conscious, it, as a whole, may not be so. The 
partjtf the whole and if it is self-conscious, so must the vjjbuole 
be. If my eyes see a thing, I see it ; if my ears hear a sound, 
I hear it ; so if the Absolute is a person in me, it must itself have 
personality. To think otherwise is not to be serious with the 
doctrine that " the whole of the unity shall be in each individual." 
The differentiations'* of the "Absolute are admittedly" persons. 
If so, it is inconceivable that their unity, the Absolute, should 
not be a person. The unity may be more but cannot certainly 
be less than a" person. 

The Absolute, as Dr. McTaggart conceives it, is a society 
of perfect but finite individuals and, as such, is a spiritual unity. 
Each individual, as perfect, includes and, as finite, excludes all 
the rest. P, Q, R, let us suppose, are the individuals, whose 
unity is M, the Absolute. Now M as P consciously includes 
Q and R, M as Q includes P and R and so on. Between the 
inclusion of Q and R in the consciousness of M as P and that 
of P and R in the consciousness of M as Q, there can be no 
breach of continuity. This continuity, however, which must 
necessarily be a fact of consciousness is not in the consciousness 
either of P or of Q or of R. P does not itself carry forward the 


items of its consciousness to Q, nor Q to R. This is the function 
which belongs to M. The only fact present in the consciousness 
of P is that it includes Q and R and so with each of the rest. 
The inference that there is such a continuity must not be con- 
founded with the fact of it. Now it is this continuity which, 
as I have said, must be a conscious fact that is realised in M. 
The facts in the separate consciousnesses of P, Q and R get 
re-interpreted in the light of their continuity, and so re-inter- 
preted constitute M. This simple and unavoidable reasoning 
does, I think, establish beyond dispute that the Absolute is a 
conscious unity. The only alternative is to deny that it is a 
unity at all and so to be driven to monadism. 1 

" If the Absolute," argues Dr. McTaggart, " is to be called 
a person because it is a spiritual unity, then every college, 
every goose-club, every gang of thieves, must also be called a 
person. For they are all spiritual unities. They all consist 
exclusively of human beings, and they all unite their members 
in some sort of unity. Their unities are indeed much less 
perfect than the unity of the Absolute. But if an imperfect 
unity is qot to be called an imperfect person, then the name 
of person must be denied to ourselves as manifested here and 
now. . . . Now we call ourselves persons, but no one, I believe, 
has ever proposed to call a football team a person. But if we 
call the Absolute a person, we should have no defence for refusing 
the name to the football team " (Ib'id.^ p. 86). The analogy 
between a college or a football team and the Absolute is by no 
means self-evident. Subordinate unities like the college or the 
football team exist for temporary and particular purposes and 
can be formed or dissolved without the least advantage or 
detriment to the essential nature of their members, but all such 
subordinate unities presuppose and are grounded on the unity 
of the Absolute, apart from which nothing can even exist. A 
football team is a union of its members in so far as they are 
sportsmen and has no bearing on their life in other respects. 
So a college is a combination for purposes which cannot be 
realised without it and the members of it, considered as interested 
and concerned in the execution of these purposes, have no being 
apart from it, but as individuals with other capacities and 
functions they have no relation to it. The relation, however, 
of the Absolute to its constituent individuals is different. It is 

1 In the Nature of Existence McTaggart abandons the conception 
of a differentiation of the Absolute excluding other differentiations 
and yet ideally including them all, and falls back upon. a_frankly 


a union which makes not this or that phase of their existence 
but the whole of their existence, including their existence 
as inter-conscious members of it possible. It is the pre-condition 
of and is realised in the inter-consciousness of the individuals 
it unites, and is ipso facto a conscious unity. If any analogy 
between such widely disparate entities is at all to be drawn, it 
is, I venture to think, least misleading to express it in this way. 
The unity of the football team is no other than the community 
of purpose of the sportsmen. The unity of the college consists 
in the common academic interests of its members. So the unity 
of the Absolute is, besides other things, the continuity of 
consciousness involved in the inter-consciousness of the selves 
that constitute it. 

Dr. J^cXaggaxt-jiistly contendg-that the consciousness of the 
nnfl-egn is a - sseatiaL<dkk^ of the personality.. of Lajfinite 
person. " Such a consciousness the Absolute cannot possess." 
f'oTtFere is nothing outside it, from which it can distinguish 
itself. . . . The Absolute has not a characteristic which is 
idmitted to be essential to all finite personality, which is all the 
personality of which we have any experience. Is this f-haracter- 
istic essential to personality or only to finite personality ? We 
know of no personality witnout a non-ego. Nor can we imagine 
what such a personality would be like. For we certainly can 
never say * I ' without raising the idea of the non-ego, and so 
we can never form any idea of the way in which the Absolute 
would say ' I ' " (Ibid. y pp. 68-69). The essential condition 
of self-consciousness is the opposition and not the externality of 
the non-ego to the ego. The non-ego is external to the body 
and thus comes to have the appearance of externality to the 
finite mind, because the finite mind is the ideality of tne body. 
Dr. McTaggart fails to distinguish an accidental circumstance 
of our self-consciousness from the essential condition of it. The 
Absolute, of course, has nothing outside it from which it can 
distinguish itself, but from this it does not follow that within 
it there is no non-ego in distinction from which it has the 
consciousness of self. For, in relation to every finite differentia- 
tion of the Absolute, the other differentiations are non-egos. 
These differentiations, therefore, are by turns egos and non-egos, 
jlmthe Absolute, all itsjdiffe. rejiqes are united but^^otJosL 
They retain their fundamental characteristics. The Absolute 
which says " I " in each of its determinations, has self-conscious- 
ness in so far as these egos are brought together in its unity. 
Their self-consciousness is its self-consciousness. On the othet 
hand, the differences, in so far as they are non-egos, do not 


cease to be so by their coming together in it. In the unity of 
the Absolute, therefore, the double character which belongs to 
its differentiations is preserved. To say that the element of 
the non-ego is absent from it, is to say tnat an essential feature 
of its component factors is somehow lost in it. But this is 
impossible if the Absolute is " the differentiated unity or the 
unified differentiations." The Absolute is self-conscious in and 
as the totality of the selves which compose it, and the non-ego 
which it is not without in them is not lost to it. It, in fine, is 
the unity^^whjch transcends but does nof ^nniil the relative 
distinction Between ega and .non-egp set up in the process of 
cfSerentiation which it undergoes, in order to exist as the 
deepest and most comprehensive unity. 

Dr. McTaggart takes it for granted that " personality cannot 
be, the .attribute of a unity which jhas no Jndj visible centre of 
reference and whicj^is w fronL]dLp5ypts,pf view all in every part." 
His thought, itjsnjs_o me, is colored throughout by his view 
that the self is ^substance. "In trie identity of the substance," 
we are told, 'TiesTthe personal identity." Dr. McTaggart 
admits thajt " this is a rather unfashionable mode of expression." 
44 Unfashionable mode of thought," he might have said. It 
certainly is not the thought of Hegel, who repeatedly insists 
on the difference between a substance and a subject. It is 
substantially a revival of the pre-Kantian dogmatic theory of 
the soul, however much it may be modified by the reflection 
that " each self can only exist in virtue of its connection with 
all the others and with the Absolute which is their unity." A 
differentiation of the Absolute is no doubt a substance, but it 
is much more. On Hegel's principles it, as a moment of the 
Absolute Idea, shares in the nature of the Absolute Idea and 
tl\uAl^lu|. ( S.ldiea^&4iie ultimate category ^immeasurably richer 
than subgjance. Instead of saying that personal identity lies in 
thTTctelttity of substance, we should rather invert the proposition 
and say that the identity of substance lies in its being the objective 
expression of the identity of self. The unity of the self is, no 
doubt, realised in each " unity of centre," but is by no means 
confined to it. The fact that it is realised in an individual 
centre, as a particular, is made possible by its going beyond it to 
other individuals which are thus gathered up into the synthetic 
unity of the Absolute and thereby reduced to a systematic 
totality. This is the important lesson that we learn from Hegel's 
doctrine of the Notion. The Absolute is, as Dr. McTaggart 
^ys, the " unity of system," but |M.yuiy,j>sStem which is_not 
the^ expression of a unity of se^-comcipusness is only a mechanical 
H.N.-H. 2 G 


aggregate, or, at best, what Hegel calls absolute mechanism. 
Dr. McTaggart speaks as if the conception of an individual 
including in its knowledge the whole of Reality, which, at the 
same time, it excludes, is, in itself, a satisfying conception. It 
is nothing of the kind. It is in reality a contradictory conception, 
pointing to the solution of it in the inclusion of the individuals 
in a wider unity, where it and other selves like it come together 
and are commingled without loss of their individuality. The 
one-sidedness of the being and consciousness of the individual, 
to which the exclusion of the rest is due, presupposes a many- 
sided and all-embracing consciousness in which each individual 
gets its proper place in relation to others. 

This leads us to the consideration of the question whether 
the self can be conceived as the totality of selves. " Can we 
attach," asks Dr. McTaggart, " any meaning to the statement 
that one self-conscious being should consist of a multiplicity of 
self-conscious beings in such a way that it had no reality apart 
from them ? Or that one self-conscious being should oe part 
of another in such a way that it had no reality apart from it ? " 
This question must emphatically be answered in the affirmative. 
Our own self is, within its limits, of such a nature. It is nothing 
if not a totality. The true nature of the self is hidden from us 
by the manner in which the distinction between the self and its 
states is usually drawn. Each mental state is not merely a state 
of the self, but is the self in that state. It is because this is so 
that the states of consciousness are not accidentally associated 
with, but are intrinsically related to, one another. " All self- 
consciousness," as Professor Stout says, " implies a division of 
the total self. When I think about myself, the I and the myself 
are never quite identical. The self of which I have an idea is 
always distinguished from the self which has the idea " (Manual 
of Psychology^ p. 545). The conscious states are not related 
to the self as the modes of Spinoza are related to the substance. 
Thgjgglf isjjgHt jup into its states in each of which the^ whole o, 
ILJS. present. When Hume saI3 that He was unaBIe to get at 
the pure self, but always stumbled upon some particular state 
of the self, he said no more than the truth, only that he failed 
to realise that the particular mental state is itself the self so ex- 
pressed. Had he discerned this the problem of the relatedness 
of impressions would have been solved for him. FoVtunately 
this is a conclusion which does not rest on mere speculative 
grounds. Empirical facts establish it beyond all reasonable 
doubt. The phenomenon which abnormal cases of the disinte^- 
of personality present ? is explicable only on the hypothesis 


that the normal self consists in the integration of selves. To 
say so is not to imply that the self is a mere aggregate. It is a 
totality, no doubt, Jbut^a 

^ _, 

pojsiveness. Its unitjMsTnot tolbe sought for in its substantiality, 
Jbutin the abiding aim or purpose which holds together the units 
ojjTit. 1 Sifdfi an abiding purpose is not a single purpose but a 
system of purposes in and through which the ultimate meaning 
of life is progressively realised. The self is one, as far as and 
no further than, a common purpose runs through it. When 
the last vestige of a common purpose is gone, the last preparation 
for the mad-house is completed. 

If we are to say that the unity of the Absolute is not a personal 
unity, what alternative has Dr. McTaggart to offer ? How is 
that unity to be conceived ? It will scarcely do to say that it 
is the unity of unconscious Reason. Dr. McTaggart is hardly 
likely to resuscitate a theory once fashionable but now decently 
buried. Unconscious Reason is as much a chimera as uncon- 
scious matter unrelated to intelligence. If the Absolute is not 
a person, if it is not unconscious Reason, the only alternative 
that remains is to conceive of it as realised in the self-conscious- 
ness of each individual and the unity of it becomes a mere name. 
It is only the self-consciousness of P + the self-consciousness of 
Q -f the self-consciousness of R and so on. Of what avail is it 
to reiterate, as Dr. McTaggart does, that the unity of the Absolute 
is as real as its differences, that it is an organic unity and so forth, 
when all conception of it is rendered impossible by the assertion 
that consciousness does not belong to it ? Of course, it is not 
personal as man is personal. Probably it is better to call it, as 
Mr. Bradley suggests, super-personal ; but to regard it as 
spiritual minus consciousness is, I maintain, impossible. That 
the denial of self-consciousness to the Absolute must inevitably 
lead to pluralism is evidenced by Dr. McTaggart's comparison 
of it to such things as a football team or a gang of thieves. Of 
course, these are mere illustrations, though perhaps not particu- 
larly happy ones ; but does not a straw show which way the wind 
blows ? I suspect that in spite of his stout disclaimers, pluralism 
silently dominates the thought of Dr. McTaggart more than he 
himself realises. Between pluralism and the doctrine that the 
Absolute is a self-conscious unity, there is really no choice. 

Dr. McTaggart asserts, though with some hesitation, that 
" Hegel does not himself regard the Absolute as personal." 
" It seems clear," he argues, " from the Philosophy of Religion 

x Royce has exhaustively treated of the relation of purposiveness to 
personality in his Conception of God and Gifford lectures, 


that the truth of God's nature, according to Hegel, is to be 
found in the Kingdom of the Holy Ghost. And the Kingdom of 
the Holy Ghost appears to be not a person but a community " 
(Studies in Hegelian Cosmology, p. 59). Again, " if God is 
really personal, He must be personal in the kingdom of the 
Spirit. For that is the synthesis and in that alone do we get 
an adequate representation of God's nature " (Ibid. y p. 208). 
I have already stated what, in my judgment, Hegel's view on 
this subject is and need not dwell on it at any length here. 
Suffice it to say, that if the kingdom of the Father taken by 
itself and in isolation from the kingdom of the Son and the 
kingdom of the Spirit is an abstraction, the kingdom of the 
Spirit apart from the kingdom of the Father, is equally so. The 
Validity of Dr. McTaggart's argument depends upon the 
assumption that the kingdom of the Father is merged in the 
kingdom of the Holy Ghost. But, most assuredly, this is not 
Hegel's meaning. Hegel, who tells us that nature and to 
this, be it remembered, the kingdom of the Son corresponds 
" is the extreme self-alienation of Spirit, in which it yet remains 
one with itself" and that " the idea freely lets itself go out of 
itself, while yet resting in itself, and remaining absolutely secure 
of itself," cannot possibly teach that in the return to Himself 
which the stage of the kingdom of the Spirit represents, He 
ceases to be what He is even in the second kingdom of " extreme 
self-alienation of Spirit." The Church as a spiritual community 
is not a person, but has for its presupposition the Personality 
of God the Father who on His part, " is not God," as Hegel 
tells us, " without the world " and the community of His 
incarnate Sons, viz. the Church. In the kingdom of the Spirit, 
God, who " in the extreme self-alienation of Spirit " (nature] 
" remains absolutely secure " of Himself, returns to Himself, 
through man's consciousness of Him. " If God were personal," 
says Dr. McTaggart, "as manifested in the first and second 
Kingdoms, but not in the third, it would mean that He was 
personal when viewed inadequately but not when viewed 
adequately " (Ibid.) p. 208). But why should He not be Personal 
When viewed adequately ? The truth is that Dr. McTaggart 
conceives of the kingdom of the Spirit as a mere brotherhood 
of finite Spirits, but in reality and, as I believe, in Hegel's view, 
it is the brotherhood of finite spirits grounded on the Fafiierhood 
of God or the Fatherhood of God realised in the brotherhood 
of His children. And this is the view which is in harmony with 
the substance of Christianity, the defence of which by Hegel 
is not half-hearted, but whole-hearted and sincere. 



We now come to the second subject of our enquiry, viz. the 
relation of the categories to the Absolute and to human know- 
ledge. It is hardly appropriate to speak of the relation of the 

^^ A expression 

nature in though ts as such?' The dialectic does not describe the 
movement oFmere human thought, but unfolds the content of 
the Absolute Mind. This is unquestionably Hegel's view. 
Logic is Absolute knowJoigp. In other words, it is the Absolute 
SflindV consciousnessof itself as it really is. It is the self- 
consciousness of God. No doubt the philosopher who traces 
out the inter-connections of the categories is a human being, 
but in Absolute knowledge he rises to the standpoint of the 
Absolute and transcends the limitations of his nature. " The 
object of religion, as of philosophy, is the eternal truth in its very 
objectivity, God and nothing but God and the explication 
of God." Philosophic knowledge is God's knowledge of Him- 
self throi/gh man's IcnowIeHge of Him. In so Tar "as malTHas 
true 'philosophic knowledge of God, h6 is one with God. To 
be cognisant of the dialectical evolution of the categories is, 
therefore, to feel the very pulse-beats of the Absolute. " Philo- 
sophy," Hegel tells us, " has to consider its object in its necessity, 
not, indeed, in its subjective necessity or external arrangement, 
classification, etc., but it has to unfold and demonstrate the 
object out of the necessity of its own inner nature." It exhibits 
in systematic completeness the elements of the inmost life of 
the Absolute. 

All this may sound strange to ordinary common sense and 
may seem to oe little better than the meaningless utterances 
of a philosophy gone mad. Yet a little relKcSon will sTiow 
tfiat ffiese "paradoxical statements contain nothing but the sober 
truth. " I think Thy thoughts after Thee, O God ! " exclaimed 
Kepler, and nobody ever dreams of accusing him of blasphemy 
and overweening conceit. On the contrary, it is taken as an 
indication of Kepler's great piety. Hegel says exactly the same 
thing in the technical language of philosophy. The only 
difference between him and others like Kepler is that the trutn 
which flashes upon their minds only on rare occasions is the 
permanent basis of his thought which is never off his mind, 
e.agreemerit.of thought with Reality is the tacit presupposition 
wmcfi both science and philosophy proceed. If there were 



a chasm between our thought and Reality, how could we by 
means of thinking become aware of even the most insignificant 
truths about things ? To interpose a barrier between human 
thought and Reality is to make all knowledge impossible, even 
the knowledge that there is a Reality. Indeed the very problem 
as to the relation between Thought and Reality can arise only 
if the distinction between the two has somehow been overcome. 
In $o far as man's thought lays hold of Reality, it is not a mere 
subjective process, but coincides with the inmost essence of 
^things. The great error of Hegel, no doubt, is that he supposes 
that man's philosopnical knowledge of Reality coincides with 
the whole content of Reality, but this should not make us blind 
to the element of truth of" what he teaches. Philosophical 
knowledge is the knowledge of truth so far as it goes, and 
knowledge of truth is the thinking of God's thought after God, 
or what Hegel calls the explication of the Absolute. 

Qrjeen has given a different account of the method of Hegel. 
If, he says, Thought is to be identified with Re*ality x it " cannot 
be the process of philosophising, though Hegel himself, by what 
seems to us the one essential aberration of his doctrine, treats 
this process as a sort of movement of the Absolute Thought" 
(Works^ Vol. III., p. 143). Hegel's fault, we arc told, is that 
for an answer to the question, What is Thought, the questioner, 
" instead of being duly directed to an investigation of the 
objective world, and the source of the relations which determine 
its content, is rather put on the track of an introspective inquiry 
what and how he can or cannot conceive" (Ibid., p. 143). 
The world, Green tells us, will not accept the Hegelian view 
of the relation between God and the world " until it is made 
clear that the nature of that thought, which Hegel declares to 
be the reality of things, is to be ascertained, if at all, from analysis 
of the objective^ world, not from reflection on the processes of 
our intelligence which really presuppose that world. . . . 
Language which seems to imply the identification of our 
discursive understanding with God, or with the world in its 
spiritual reality can lead to nothing but confusion " (If^orks^ 
Vol. III., pp. 144-45). Green sums up his criticism of Hegel 
by declaring that he suspects that " all along Hegel's method 
has stood in the way of an acceptance of his conclusion, because 
he, at any rate, seemed to arrive at his conclusion as to the 
spirituality of the world, not by interrogating the world, but 
by interrogating his own thoughts." The fundamental con- 
clusion of Hegel however, that " all that is real is the activity 
or expression of one spiritual self-conscious being," Green 


heartily accepts, but he states that whoever would present this 
conclusion in " a form which will command some general 
acceptance among serious and scientific men, though he cannot 
drink too deep of Hegel should rather sit loose to the dialectical 
method " (Ibid., p. 146). 

Now this decidedly unfavourable judgment of the dialectical 
method is, as Caird rightly says, tk not valid against Hegel." 
The point of it is the assumption that the Hegelian doctrine of 
the identity of Thought and Being means that there is not even 
a relative difference between them and that Reality is the same 
as the psychological process of thinking. This is, of course, 
far from Hegel's meaning. The process of thinking, as Green 
says, presupposes the world, but the dependence is not one-sided. 
The world equally presupposes the process of thinking and the 
unity of the two does not mean their simple sameness, but the 
higher synthesis of them in which their relative opposition to 
each other is at once preserved and annulled. The opposition 
between the subjective process of thinking and the objective 
reality of the world, in the manner in which Green states that 
opposition, is really irrelevant from Hegel's point of view. 
Hegel deals with Reality as a whole and the distinctions between 
the various phases of that Reality, including the distinction 
between subject and object, fall within its unity. The business of 
philosophy is to explain the precise meaning of these distinctions 
and to show their proper places in the systematic unity of the 
whole. This is the great task which the dialectical method 
seeks to accomplish and to sit loose to it is to give up philosophy 
altogether in despair. An inquiry into the nature of Reality- 
is in one sense " reflection on the processes of our intelligence," 
in another, it is not. ^.11 Reality is relative to intelligence and 
is the manifestation of it. The distinction between subject and 
object is created and oygrcome by intelligence. The various 
phases of Reality are, therefore, at the same time Ino3es of 
intelligence, and as our intelligence is an integral part of the 
Absolute, an investigation of the objective world is also a study 
of the forms of intelligence, which are as much forms of the 
Absolute Thought as of our intelligence. But if any one supposes 
that an introspective examination of the contents of his particular 
consciousness will reveal to him the nature of Reality, he is, no 
doubt, open to the censure of Green. Hegel, however, has not 
in any way made himself amenable to the censure. In his 
system, if Thought is identified with Being, it is also opposed 
to it. Thought, as the subject of knowledge, is the correlative 
of, and, therefore, opposed to the object of knowledge. But 


this correlativity and opposition implies a unity which transcends 
the opposition. The ultimat^ 

of subject and object falls is Though t as is the subject to which 
ffieTbbject is correlative. It is witnThought as the ultimate unity 
the Absolute, that Hegel identifies Reality and not with it 
as the mere subject of knowledge. Green, I think, overlooks 
this important distinction. 

What, after all, is the dialectical method which is so obnoxious 
to Green ? It is not, as he seems to think, a means of determining 
what and how a man can or cannot conceive, but thejmethod 
which^ seeks to show that a partial and inadequate conception 
of TJeafity is inherently contradictory and therefore leads on 
to - a'TuIIef and more adequate conception, which, In turn, is 
found to be equally one-sided and defective, till we reach the 
conception of a systematic totality of things in which a single 
spiritual principle is manifested, or what Hegel calls the Absolute 
Idea. The final conclusion of a philosophical system does not 
rest on the mere ipse dixit of the philosopher. ,Its justification 
lies in the fact that from the standpoint of the philosopher no 
other conception is found to be equally adequate and satisfactory. 
X!i?JJiylfe Js LtJl a Levery philosophy must employ the dia}gtical 
method conscioiidy or unconsciously. The only question is 
whether it is to be employed thoroughly and systematically or 
in a perfunctory manner. Green's own method of developing 
his theory is, in effect, the dialectical method. An object, 
he shows, taken by itself and held in isolation is a self-contra- 
dictory thing. Its apparent being is in reality non-being. 
This contradiction, latent in the unscientific view that objects 
are self-subsistent entities, is overcome when we realise that to 

is to stand in relations. A tlungJiasjDSiliJ^ 

he world therefor 

__ The world, therefore, is not 

a mere^ssemBIage : of things, but a unity based on the connected- 
ness of things. Relativity, again, reveals a fresh contradiction, 
unless it is remembered that the objectsjrelated to one another 
can become one, without ceasing, to be many^cmly ; if wejwppose 
them to be co-present *to, and expressions of, a \jmfyiogj:on- 
racM^ripsT^^Ap^ft from such a unifying consciousness, the idea 
ofthe relatedness of objects leads us to the flagrant contradiction 
that objects, as related to one another, are one, and yet they are 
not one, because, unless they are many, they cannot become 
related to one another. An argument of this kind is essentially 
Hegelian and the method of it is, in effect, the much decried 
dialectical method. The great merit of Hegel is that he is not 
content with examining only a few conceptions picked up at 


random, but undergoes a truly Herculean labour in bringing to 
light the fundamental categories of thought and in showing 
them to be different phases of the life of the Absolute. He turns 
to man's theoretic and practical life, to language and science, 
to art and religion and by an exhaustive survey of them, such 
as no man has ever undertaken, discovers their ground-concep- 
tions and shows that each of them represents a phase of the 
Absolute, valid in its own progerjEherg, but, taken as complete 
and sel f-su fHn^~seIF-cont radicto ry, and necessitating a forward 
movement till we find that nothing less than the Absolute itself 
can afford us a final and secure resting ground. 

But when all this is said, all difficulties are not obviated and 
all doubts are not finally set at rest. The student of Hegel is 
forced to recognise that philosophy, if it is to be of any worth, 
must be an explication of Reality as a whole. To admit this is 
to admit that man, in so far as he possesses philosophical know- 
ledge, is a participator in the Thought of the Absolute. But, 
nevertheless, itJs impossible not to find a certain unsatisfactori- 
ness in a doctrine which seems to remove all distinction between 
frail and finite man and the Absolute. This feeling is well 
expressed by Green when he says that " when we have satisfied 
ourselves that the world in its truth or full reality is spiritual, 
because on no other supposition is its unity explicable, we may 
still have to confess that a knowledge of it in its spiritual reality 
such a knowledge of it as would be a knowledge of God is 
impossible to us. To know God, we must be God. The 
unifying principle oTTK^vorlJTs indee3^TrTus ; It is our self. 
But, as in us, it is so conditioned by a particular animal nature 
that, while it yields the idea of the world as one which regulates 
all our knowledge, our actual knowledge is a piecemeal process. 
We spell out the relations of things one by one, we pass from 
condition to condition, from effect to effect ; but, as one fragment 
of truth is grasped another has escaped us and we never reach 
that totality of apprehension through which alone we could 
know the world as it is and God in it" (Works^ Vol. III., 
p. 145). In preaching the truth that man's knowledge of 
Reality is knowledge of the Absolute, Hegel is apt to forget 
that tne whole content of Absolute knowledge is not revealed 
to him. Between the proposition that the categories of human 
knowledge are not merely subjective, but integral elements of 
Absolute Reality, and the proposition that man's knowledge of 
the Absolute is co-extensive with the Absolute, there is no 
necessary connection whatsoever. The cardinal error of Hegel, 
the ** one essential aberration of his doctrine," to use the language 


of Green, is that he passes from the first proposition, which is 
tenable, to the second proposition, which is untenable and absurd, 
without warrant or justification. It is ridiculous , to imagine 
that the 6q or, ,70 categories, of Hegel's X/Qgf $ TexEaust tJicjKallh 
j^TTJIvme knowledge. This wholly gratuitous and presumptuous 
limitation imposed on the possibilities of Divine knowledge 
and not his method, as Green supposes, has really stood in the 
way of an acceptance of his conclusions. In the fundamental 
principles of Hegel there is nothing which makes such a con- 
clusion necessary. On the contrary, there is a great deal to 
show that although the logical categories are aspects of Reality, 
they are only a fraction of it which comes within the purview 
of human knowledge. The notion that to follow the movement 
of the categories from Pure Being to the Absolute Idea is to 
take a full measure of the Absolute is, in fact, only a peculiar 
whim of Hegel's. Everywhere he is inclined to claim finality. 
The Absolute Thought is analysable exactly into the categories 
treated of in the Logic, neither more nor kss ; Nature is 
rational only in so far as it is the other of the logical categories, 
the extra element that refuses to fit into the categories is only 
the play of chance ; the quintessence of political wisdom is 
embodied in the Prussian constitution as it was about the year 
1826; God reveals Himself in History only on the shores of 
the Mediterranean and returns to Himself only in the philosophy 
of Hegel, which, of course, contains the last word of philosophy. 
All this is perhaps excusable in Hegel himself, for, the greatest 
philosopher of the world though he is, he is only a man and has 
his prejudices and bias from which no man is free. But there 
is no reason why his followers should be tied down to the letter 
of his system. To deny that the categories of Logic are a 
complete explication of the Absolute is not to set up a barrier 
between our knowledge and Reality. They, so far as they go, 
do reveal the" Absolute, but there is more in the Absolute than 
is dreamt of in Hegel's Logic. What we know, we truly know, 
but we do not know all. 

The categories of Hegel bear marks which indicate that they 
do not constitute the whole of Reality. If they exhausted the 
content of the Absolute Life, why should the task of tracing out 
their inter-connections be so puzzling and difficult of achieve- 
ment ? We should see at a glance the mutual relations of the 
categories, if we had all of them before us and there ought to 
be no uncertainty and hesitation in determining the exact place 
of each of them in relation to the rest. What is once found to 
be true would not be liable to subsequent revision and modifica-* 


tion. There is no room for tentative procedure in Absolute 
cognition. Having the whole of Reality and all its constituent 
elements before him, nothing would be easier for the philosopher 
than to comprehend how exactly the whole is expressed in the 
parts and in what precise manner the parts are related to one 
another. And the experience of the student of Hegel's philosophy 
would be equally delightful. Scanning the pages of the Logic, 
he would find the whole panorama of Reality unrolled before 
his eyes and the comprehension of it a process unerring, im- 
mediate and facile. The actual fact, however, is very different 
from all this. It is well known that Hegel did not by any 
means find the task of linking up the categories an easy one. 
He speaks of the " labour of the notion " and the hesitancy of 
his procedure is evidenced by the modifications in the arrange- 
ment of the categories which he made in the several editions of 
the Greater Logic and the Encyclopedia. Is it not strange that 
there should be so much uncertainty as to the exact relations 
of the categories to one another, when Hegel professes to know 
all of them as organic elements of the Absolute ? The logical 
implication of the claim to a complete knowledge of the Absolute 
is omniscience, and if there is no omniscience, it follows that the 
only knowledge of the Absolute possible to man is piecemeal 
ana sketchy and not detailed and complete. 

It is sometimes supposed that the dialectical evolution of the 
categories is independent of experience. If only the philosophic 
gaze is fixed steadfastly on Pure Being a movement will set in 
which will ultimately carry the philosopher to the crowning 
summit of the Absolute Idea. The dialectic, it is imagined, 
not only interprets but also generates the categories and for the 
discovery of them no reference to empirical facts is necessary. 
Pure Being, by an inner necessity, by its own immanent energy, 
passes into the next category and this into the next and so on and 
so on, till in an automatic manner the process is completed 
when the final category of the Absolute Idea is reached. All 
this, however, is only a fancy-picture of Hegel's method and 
is very far from the actual truth. What Hegel really does is 
that he gathers, mainly from science and language, the root- 
conceptions which underlie experience and constitute experience, 
and which, therefore, we employ in order to interpret experience 
and shows how they belong to, are members of, one all-inclusive 
Reality. Such a procedure, it is needless to explain, depends 
from beginning to end on experience. Its presupposition is 
experience and its goal is experience ; presupposition, because 
the categories are derived from it, goal, because the highest effort 


of philosophy is directed towards the demonstration of it as the 
systematic unity and embodiment of the categories. Philosophy, 
therefore, can b^gin its work only when the sciences have, 
partially at least, completed theirs. It must wait for a "prior 
Interpretation of $qpenencV6y science. Each science brings to 
light the fundamental principles or the categories which rule 
the phenomena with which it deals. Philosophy takes up these 
categories themselves for investigation. It examines them 
with a view to determine their scope and limitations and the 
manner in which the lower or more abstract ones lead up to, 
become merged into, the higher. Depending for its materials 
on the sciences it must from time to time revise and correct 
itself, as the sciences make progress in their interpretation of the 
world. It must follow in the wake of the sciences and cannot 
anticipate their results, '"~ffny claim, therefore, oFthe finality 
of philosophy is bound to be futile. If Hegel could come to 
life again and re-write the Logic to-day, it is certain that he 
would write it very differently. The old scieftces have made 
enormous progress and profoundly modified many of their con- 
clusions and new ones have come into existence since his time. 
Any scheme of the mutual filiation of the categories drawn up 
to-day would be so materially different from Hegel's Logic that 
very little similarity could be traced between the two. The 
science of Biology alone, which had no existence in.Ufi6 e l' s 
time/wbulcl furnish so many new categories that, viewed in their 
light, some at least of the categories of Hegel's Logic would 
necessarily present a very different appearance. These con- 
siderations are enough to show that it is absurd to imagine that 
Hegel's categories are a complete and final explication of the 
Absolute. Such a supposition would imply the finality of the 
scientific knowledge which the world had in the first quarter 
of the last century. " We have no claim," as Professor Baillie 
says, " to regard Hegel's Logic as finished and unalterable body 
of truth, the validity of which as a whole stands or falls with 
the validity of each part of it." " No stress," he rightly observes, 
" can be laid on the seeming finality which is characteristic of 
the system " (Origin and Significance of Hegel's Logic^ p. 255). 
Tnat there are large gaps between the categories in spite of 
their apparently seamless cominuity with each other becomes 
evident if we glance at sonuTof them. What the missing links 
are we cannot even conjecture, but that they do exist is clear. 
Take the category of quantity, for example, and the puzzle of 
the endlessness of space and the infinite divisibility of matter. f 
solution of these Kantian antinomies of Cosmologyjs 


thatjhej SS? 6 ^ rom our &^ ure tc ? ^ e to $ et ^ er l ^ c two moments 
oT^[uanf ity, continuity arid discreteness, and ^al|owing them lo 
alternate with each other. THe Hifiiculty about lliVen^e^Hess 
of space : Troubles "us when we forget that quantity is not only 
continuous but also discrete, and the idea of the limitedness of 
the world in space becomes an embarrassment when we abstract 
from continuity. An object, in so far as its quantitative aspect 
is concerned, is the'syfithesis of continuity and discreteness. 

. ' . T _- .,,.<(.,,. . f -~*,r~**,,w ** g^V" >' ' '*- , - X,, . , "W - . 

Now this answer is no doubt valid, so far as it goes, but it does 
not ultimately obviate the difficulties involved in the antinomies 
of Kant. Continuity and discreteness are abstractions apart 
from each other and are true only as mutually related aspects of 
quantity. To show this, however, is not to perfectly harmonise 
these opposed moments of quantity with each other. What 
Hegel proves is that continuity implies discreteness and not that 
it becomes or turns over into discreteness and vice versa. The 
point will become clear if we compare the triad of continuity, 
discreteness and quantum with the triad Being, nothing and 
Becoming. Being, carefully scrutinised, turns out to be Nothing 
and Nothing is Being. Of course the identity is not mere 
sameness^ but with all their difference, Being is Nothing and 
Nothing is Being and the process of the one passing over into 
the other is Becoming. Becoming is thus a real reconciliation 
of Being and Nothing. The reason of this, no doubt, is that 
Being and Nothing being the poorest and most abstract categories 
are, for that very reason, nearest each other. But continuity 
does not become discreteness, nor discreteness continuity. The 
one presupposes the other and quantum is their reconciliation 
only in the sense that the concept of it is analysable into the 
concepts of continuity and discreteness. Continuity is an element 
of quantity and cannot be torn off from it. Its correlative, 
eternal partner, is discreteness, but on its own ground^ as distinct, 
though not separate from discreteness, it gives rise to the puzzle 
of the endlessness of space. Similarly, in another direction, 
continuity, as opposed to discreteness, leads to the difficulty of 
the infinite divisibility of matter. To point to the correlativity 
of these two categories is not to solve the problem which eacn 
from its own point of view raises. To move on to the higher 
categories is, no j^jibl^JtfiLjy oW. b]iL^^ corique r 

tHealiEcuIties .j^nnec.ted_ wi til theT^er ones. Ha31con!miiit 
and discreteness passed over into eacfi other, while retaininy 
their difference, like Being and Nothing, the defects of the one 
might have been supplied by the other, but this is not what 
happens. The problems arising from continuity and discreteness, 


in so far as they are distinct from each other, remain unsolved 
in spite of their correlativity. The truth is that Hegel does not 
overcome the antinomies of Kant, but only shows that the failure 
of the two opposed moments of quantity to come into perfect 
harmony with each other does not in any way discredit Reality, 
for Reality is vastly more than mere quantity. Nevertheless, 
the antinomies arising from quantity remain unsolved and suggest 
that though the solution is beyond our comprehension, there 
must be supplementary categories in the Absolute consciousness 
of such a nature that in the light of them the mysteries of 
quantity are fully explained. 

The false infinite of quality is another illustration of a lacuna 
in the Hegelian scheme of categories. The difficulty about 
quantity considered above is, in fact, only a recurrence on a 
higher plane of that connected with qualitatively infinite 
progression. A somewhat passes over into another, this into 
somewhat else and so on ad infinitum. The truth of this infinite 
series, as we have seen, is the genuine Infinite, which compre- 
hends the infinite series within itself. Reality is more than an 
infinite series. But this insight does not help us in summing 
up the infinite series itself. The difficulty inherent in'k is not 
solved by our advancing to a more adequate category. But 
in the Absolute, the series must somehow be summed up. In 
other words, the Absolute must have a form of cognition which 
enables it to comprehend the series as a whole^ but we, lacking 
in it, are burdened with the difficulty without the means of 
solving it. 

The idea of Time conveys the same lesson. 1 It implies 
unending succession and yet in the Absolute consciousness 
the infinite series must be completed. One of the ablest 
discussions of the relation of Time to the Absolute is to be 
found in Royce's great work, The World and the Individual. 
A condensed statement of his views is to be found in a note to 
his little book, The Conception of Immortality. Royce con- 
vincingly explains that Eternity means neither the momentary 
now, nor timelessness, but the^ whole of Time which over- 
reaches the distinction between past, present and future. " Let 
IKE"" sequence be a, "B, el" TKen, in our first sense of the term 
present^ when b is present, a is no longer^ and c is not yet. And 
this fact makes the temporal sequence what it is. But in the 
second sense of the term present^ a, b, c, despite this perfectly 
genuine but relative difference of no longer and not yet or of past 

1 Time, of course, is not a category in Hegel's Logic. It is an aspect 
of the " otherness " nature, in which the categories are embodied. 


and future^ are all present as a totum simul to the consciousness 
that grasps the entire sequence " (Conception of Immortality^ 
p. 86). " There is no sort of contradiction," Royce goes 
on to observe, " in supposing a form of consciousness for 
which the events of the Archaean and of the Silurian and of the 
later geological periods should be present at once together with 
the facts of to-day's history " (Ibid.}. The term Eternal 
consciousness^ Royce justly argues, does not mean consciousness 
not in time but " a consciousness whose span embraces the 
whole of Time." " What is present at once to such a conscious- 
ness, viz. the whole of what happens in time, taken together 
with all the distinctions of past and of future that hold within 
the series of temporal events this whole, I say, constitutes 
Eternity" That a consciousness which is eternally complete 
must mean a whole within which the relative distinctions of 
past, present and future fall is indisputable, but it is also true 
that it is a notion entirely beyond us. It is not enough to say, 
as Royce does,that we ourselves possess the type of an eternal 
consciousness. The time of our consciousness is, no doubt, a 
whole, but it is not a complete whole. It is interminable at both 
ends. &ut what for us is an interminable series and a complete 
whole only ideally must, for the Absolute, be a really complete 
whole, an actually experienced fact. Have we the faintest 
conception of what this is like ? Do we possess any idea of a 
" consciousness whose span embraces the whole of Time f " 
Because it must be so, it does not follow that we understand how 
it is so. The dilemma is that while we cannot deny that Time, 
as a complete series, is a real element of the Absolute, we have 
not the least idea as to what the higher consciousness is which 
has the idea of Time, with its antinomies perfectly solved. 
The, indication, however, i^sjHha.^ J[Q ,th. ,.A.bsnl utg therejy^e 
categories modes 'of consciousness, which so supplement and 
rjipdify Time as to free it from its inconsistencies. The contra- 
diction of the category oF Life, for example, disappears when it 
passes into Cognition, and the contradiction or Cognition is 
sol^ecTwTien it is viewed as a moment of the Absolute Idea. But 
the conffadiction involved in the idea of Time as an infinite 
series, which is nevertheless a complete whole, is not overcome 
by the consideration that the whole of Time is present to the 
Absolute consciousness. The Absolute has evidently a mode of 
consciousness & category or categories into which the contra- 
diction of Time vanishes and which, if it formed an element of 
our consciousness, would obviate for us too the difficulties 
Involved in the idea of Time, 


The admissions which we have made may, at first sight, 
seem to be fatal to the validity of the dialectical method, but 
a little reflection will serve to remove this doubt. The categories 
of human knowledge are constitutive elements of Reality, but 
in Reality there are more of them than come within the ken 
of human knowledge. Only a section of them is, so to speak, 
fenced off from their context and constitutes human knowledge. 
As such, they present the appearance of an artificial aggregate. 
Nevertheless, the categories are organic elements of the Absolute, 
and however much they may seem to be parted off from one 
another, as known to us, they are members one of another. 
They, therefore, as participators in one life, as different expres- 
sions of one Reality, are naturally drawn towards one another. 
They have a craving for each other and seek to come together. 
It is this underlying unity that the dialectic brings to light and 
becomes possible because of it. But there is another aspect of 
the matter. The categories, though interwoven with one another 
as organic elements of a single whole, are, in so far as they are 
factors of our knowledge, artificially kept asunder by their 
partial discontinuity arising from the fragmentariness of our 
knowledge. Their mutual relations, therefore, are somewhat 
puzzling to us. While driven resistlesslj towards one another, 
they are yet unable to come completely together. It is this 
circumstance which makes the task of tracing out their mutual 
relations possible but difficult. The categories being expressions 
of a single Reality, a connection between any two of them is 
discoverable, but it would seem to be natural, or forced and 
artificial, according to the extent of the breach of continuity 
between them. This is the reason why, in Hegel's Logic, we 
find that while in many, perhaps in the majority of instances, 
the transition of one category into another is perfectly natural 
and intelligible, there are other instances in which the dialectic 
is little better than verbal_quibbling, and tl^ ;a}iT|QSt complete 
breaEcfown of the argument is concealecf by a cloud of words. 
TnTsTTs only what was to be expected. WHen a missing link 
separates one category from another, it would be difficult to 
connect the one with the other, though it is not impossible ; 
for, in virtue of the ultimate unity of all of them, there must be 
an affinity between any two of them. 

There is thus a sense in which the dialectic is a sii'ojective 
procedure, or, as Green says, " an interrogation of subjective 
consciousness." The inter-connections between the categories 
which we succeed in tracing out are only such as exist between 
them as elements of our knowledge and not as they really are* 


between the phases of the Absolute, as known to the Absolute. 
But this does not mean that our knowledge is merely subjective 
or false. It is subjective, because it is not completely objective, 
but valid so far as it goes, and, to that extent, objective. With 
the growth of knowledge, new elements of it are brought to 
light and its old relations have necessarily to be recast and 
modified, but the incomplete knowledge, although absorbed and 
transformed into the more complete knowledge, does not cease 
to be valid on its own level. AIL, development implies the 
absorption of the lower stage into tne higher stage, but the lower 
sTage'Ts not thereby proved to be unreal. When we, doubting 
and hesitating, spell out piecemeal the relations between the 
elements of Reality, we are veritably in touch with it, though 
touch with Reality does not mean an exhaustive knowledge 
of it. Hegel's contention that philosophic knowledge is Absolute 
knowledge or God's knowledge of Himself is not wrong, only 
that he is apt to forget the correlative truth that, in man, God 
knows Himselfunder the conditions and limitations of human 

After what has been already stated, it is not necessary to say 
much OJT> the third branch of our inquiry, viz. the relation of 
man's experience to the content of Absolute Experience. There 
is an idea that the Logical categories are complete by themselves 
and the transition from Logic to nature is similar to the transition 
from a lower category to a higher category. This supposed 
transition to nature has always been regarded by the critics of 
Hegelianism as its weakest point and their main attack has 
accordingly been directed to that point. Schelling, for example, 
laid the flattering unction to his soul trTat Tif "ha J demolished 
HegetianFsm once and for all by showing that nature could not 
Be oeduced from pure Thought. In truth, however, Hegel was 
never so absurd as to imagine that he could deduce empirical 
facts a priori. He has repeatedly told us that nature is the other 
of Thought. If nature has no meaning apart from Thought, 
it is equally true that Thought has no meaning apart from 
nature. Thought without nature is empty and nature without 
Thought a non-entity. Logic is an exposition of God as He 
was in Himself before creation, but the existence of God before 
creation, Hegel has expressly told us, is an unreal abstraction. 
He exists only as revealed in the world. Logic deals with the 
universal aspect of Reality, bujj^^unffier^LiS ,W.atettadion 
apart from particularity. Nature is the totality of the particular 
elementTTn "^J^ t h e Logical Idea is realised and apart from 
Which it has no being. There is, therefore, no transition at all 

H.N.-H. 2H 


from Logic to nature. In passing on from Logic to the Philo- 
sophy of Nature, Hegel does not pretend to deduce nature ? but 
only draws attention to the element of particularity implTeji 
throughout trie Logic, but abstracted from, for purpos^s'^o/ 
exposition. Absolute Thought is embodied in Absolute 
Experience and nature is a part of AbspluteJExpejijence. 

1 Have said that nature is a part of Absolute Experience. 
This is not what Hegel says but what he ought to have said. 
He supposes that in nature the Logical Idea is completely 
realised and that the Logic expresses the whole universe. 
Both the propositions are absolutely untenable. The conclusion 
which Hegel draws from these false premisses of course is, that 
in Gpd there is nothing which is not manifested in the sensible 
3&&r]jd. As Professor Pnngle-Pattison ffghtlysays,"" Tri preicnlng 
the truth that the Absolute is revealed in the world of its 
appearances, not craftily concealed behind them, Hegel seems 
to pass to a sheer identification of the two. But while it is true 
that the two aspects must be everywhere combifted an absolute 
which does not appear or reveal itself, and an appearance without 
something which appears being correlative abstractions that is 
not tantamount to saying that the appearance of the absolute to 
itself the divine Life as lived by God Himself is identical with 
the appearance which the world presents to the Hegelian philo- 
sopher" (Two Lectures on Theism^ pp. 34-35). Hegel, however, 
finds nature, even as it is known to us, rather a hard nut to crack. 
It refuses to be squeezed into his symmetrically constructed scheme 
of categories. Evidently, it is more than a mere embodiment of 
the categories recognised in his Logic. Instead of frankly 
admitting, under the circumstances, that the Logic is not a 
complete exposition of the Absolute, Hegel adopts the strange 
course of disparaging nature. In so far as he fails to understand 
it, it is not rational at all ! w He concludes that there is an element 
of contingency in nature of which no rational explanation is 

^.,u,j|,. r J3^.wt~~r".. .**>.- - ',..., ,.. 7 . ,,-" -r. *...-,. - -..*.* , , r .,,, 

pogglble, and does not stop to enquire whether such a conclusion 
isjcojn^ent^witH^Tiis fundamental principles and whether the 
seejming.^ cantingency of nature may not be due to the fact that 
itjs, the incomplete expression of a Thought richer and more 
comprehensive than that of which the Logic is the exposition. 
Because he fails to explain all the mysteries of nature, Hegel 
seems to bear a sort of grudge against it. He never misses an 
opportunity of belittling it. He, for example, is unwilling to 
recognise the beau; ty.j^f. nature. Beauty, he tells us, belongs to 
Art rather than to nature. In the starry heavens above, which 
filled the rhTnd oTTmmanuel Kant with awe and wonder, Hegel 


finds only eruptions in the face of the sky ! The philosopher, 
in his study, makes up his mind that inasmuch as he with his 
logical tape, as wonderful as Aladdin's lamp, has taken a full 
measure of the Absolute Thought, nature, as the embodiment 
of that Thought, shall be intelligible through and through 
and all mystery shall vanish from it. But nature does not 
obey the philosopher any more than the waves obeyed Canute. 
What wonder then that he should lose all patience with it, and 
unable to punish it in any other way, pour contempt on it ! 

Nature is a part of Absolute Experience and is not co-extensive 
with it. It is the name given to only so much of the section of 
Reality which our senses can cognise as is the subject of common 
discourse, and is the product of inter-subjective communication. 
It is, therefore, a mere skeleton. The living Reality is a much 
bigger thing and has endless aspects of which our senses take in 
only a few. From God, Spinoza truly observes, an infinite 
number of things follow in an infinite number of ways. It is 
the ignorance oiiman that leads him to imagine that his perception 
is the measure of Reality. Are we the sole denizens of the 
universe to whom Reality is revealed ? The dumb creatures 
around j*s are presumably capable of perception and not mere 
automata, as Descartes imagined. They too belong to the 
Absolute and participate in its life. Some measure of the self- 
revelation of the Absolute is vouchsafed to them too. The 
aspects of Reality presented to them are, in their own grades, 
as much real as those presented to us, but, evidently, they are 
different. The bird that flies in the air, the fish that lives in 
water and the worm that crawls on earth has each a perception 
of Reality with which ours can have very little in common. 
The vulture feeding on the carcass surely finds its repast as 
enjoyable as the banquet provided for us by Peliti or Kellner ! 
Evidently the filthy drain is to the rat what the finest quarters 
of Simla or Darjeeling are to us ! How, one wonders, does the 
world look to the house-lizard that creeps over the ceiling ! 
Can we deny that the Absolute Experience must include and 
is the source of all these diverse experiences ? It is the pride 
of man that makes him rebel against the notion. If the rat 
in the drain could philosophise it would, no doubt, dogmatise 
that the world, in its true nature, is as it appears to it. And 
if there be beings higher than man in the universe, what reason 
is there to suppose that they do not exceed man's measure 
of the perception of Reality ? The truth is that the experiences 
of all finite creatures, however humble and however exalted, 
are included, supplemented and rearranged in the Absolute 


Experience. It is, therefore, a much bigger thing than any 
finite being can comprehend. The Absolute Experience is the 
embodiment of Absolute Thought and if the Absolute Thought 
is infinitely richer than ours, so must the Absolute Experience 
be. Our notion of Reality is very much like the blind man's 
idea of the elephant in the fable. One blind man touching a leg 
of the elephant says that the elephant is like a pillar ; another, 
touching the ear, says that it is like the winnowing fan ; a third 
touching the trunk declares that the elephant is like the thigh. 
The elephant, of course, is much more than these blind men 
imagine, though the perception of it of every one of them is 
quite correct, so far as it goes. 

There is a fine passage in the Sartor Resartus which inimitably 
expresses the truth. " Systems of Nature," observes Carlyle ; 
" to the wisest man, wide as is his vision, Nature remains 
of quite infinite depth, of quite infinite expression ; and all 
experience thereof limits itself to some few computed centuries 
and measured square miles. The course of nature's phases, on 
this our little fraction of a planet, is partially known to us ; but 
who knows what deeper courses these depend on what 
infinitely larger Cycle (of causes) our little Epicycta revolves 
on ? To the minnow every cranny and pebble, and quality 
and accident of its little native creek may have become familiar ; 
but does the minnow understand the Ocean Tides, and periodic 
currents, the Trade-Winds, and Monsoons, and Moon's 
Eclipses ; by all which the condition of its little creek is regulated, 
and may, from time to time (^miraculously enough) be quite 
overset and reversed ? Such a minnow is man ; his creek this 
planet Earth j his Ocean the immeasurable All 5 his Monsoons 
and periodic Currents the mysterious course of Providence 
through Aeons of Aeons." 

Such a theory as I have endeavoured to sketch out in this 
essay goes, I think, as far in the direction of a knowledge of 
the Absolute as it is possible to go. We can reasonably conclude 
that man is a partial manifestation of a self-differentiation of the 
Absolute, which is the ideality of his body. His knowledge 
and experience forms part of the Absolute Thought and 
Experience and is valid so far as it goes. What he understands 
and perceiveSj the Absolute : understands an3 perceives in hinu 
^TJ^^rA^ohite ^understands and perceives in finitely' more man 
I&jeKef does. It is sheer jgresumption to equate the content of 
the Divine consciousness with the world in whicH we live. 
SucR an absurdity is by no means a necessary consequence of 
Hegelianism. There is nothing in the fundamental principle! 


of Hegel's philosophy which makes its air of omniscience 
necessary. It is the accident and not the essence of the system, 
and is due to the personal equation of Hegel. It is also, partly, 
the result of an extreme reaction against the medieval dualism 
of the sensible and the super-sensible world. The Absolute 
is undoubtedly within our knowledge, but is also over and beyond 
it. In the wise words of Professor Pringle-Pattison, we may 
conclude that " the truth about the Absolute which we extract 
from our experience is hardly likely to be the final truth ; it 
may be taken up and superseded in a wider and fuller truth. 
And in this way we might pass, in successive cycles of finite 
existence, from sphere to sphere of experience, from orb to orb 
of truth ; and even the highest would still remain a finite truth ; 
and fall infinitely short of the truth of God. But such a doctrine 
of relativity in no way invalidates the truth of the revelation at any 
given stage. The fact that the truth I reach is the truth for me 
does not make it, on that account, less true. It is true so far as 
it goes, and if my experience can carry me no further, I am 
justified in treating it as ultimate until it is superseded. Should 
it ever be superseded I shall then see both how it is modified 
by being 'Comprehended in a higher truth, and also how it and 
no other statement of the truth could have been true at my 
former stand-point. But before that higher stand-point is 
reached, to seek to discredit our present insight by the general 
reflection that its truth is partial and requires correction, is a 
perfectly empty truth, which, in its bearing upon human life, 
must almost certainly have the effect of an untruth " (Two 
Lectures on Theism, pp. 61-62). 


Note. This index contains all the books and persons mentioned, 
criticised, or quoted in the text, together with the more important 
subject headings. Names of books are in italics, and where a book is 
summarised or quoted in closely following pages, the first and last 
pages alone are given, with a hyphen between. When under a 
subject heading a proper name is given in brackets, the indication 
is that this particular philosopher's views on the subject will 
be found in the pages, the numbers of which immediately precede. 

Absolute, The, 258, 264-281 
(Bosanquet) ; 215-217, 227- 
256 (Bradley) ; 438-459 ; 
(Hegel) ; 35O-354 (Jones) ; 
416-432 (McTaggart) ; 324- 
3 29 (Watson). 

and Finite Self, Article by 

Haldar on, 93-98. 
Ansel m, 150. 
Appearance and Reality (Bradley), 

Aristotle, 9, 10 (note), 67, 173 ; 

his conceptions of fortitude, 

temperance, and virtue, 52- 

Aufklarung, The, 8, 9, 15. 

Baillie, Prof., Origin and Signi- 
ficance $f Hegel' s Logic, 476. 

Balfour, Lord, 173 ; his criticisms 
of Green, 30-32. 

Foundations of Belief, 30. 
Bentham, Jeremy, 48 , political 

theories, 284-285. 

Bergson, 278. 

Berkeley, 19, 76, 90, 367, 404. 

Bosanquet, Bernard, 247, 256, 
257-3 8, 34 6 > 39i, 4 J 5 ; his 
philosophical views, 257-308 ; 
as logician, 257 ; on the Abso- 
lute, 258, 264-281 ; on indi- 
vidualism, 258-281 ; on re- 
ligion, 278 ; his political 
philosophy, 281-295 / his 
social opinions, 291 fL 

Bosanquet compared with Brad- 
ley, 257, 258, 278. 

Philosophical Theory of the State, 

281-298. ^ 

Principle of Individuality fond 

Value, 257-280. 

Value and Destiny of the Indi- 

vidual, 257-278. 

What Religion Is, 278. 
Bradley, F. H., 214-256, 402, 

415, 417, 459, 467 ; his philo- 
sophical views, 214-256; on the 
Absolute, 215-217, 227-256 ; 
on phenomenalism, 225-227; 
on religion and morality, 
241 fL 

Appearance and Reality, 214- 


compared with Bosanquet, 257, 

258, 278 ; Caird and Green, 
247 ; Hegel, 215. 

Essays on Truth and Reality, 


Bryce, Lord, on Green, 18. 
Buddhism, 119. 

Caird, Edward, 75-134. 2 47> 248, 
309, 330, 382, 391, 4 J 5> 439> 
440, 443, 444, ,471 ; his 
philosophical theories, 75- 
134 ; influence in Scotland, 
75 ; on the philosophy of Kant, 
76-89 ; on Hegelianism, 76, 
77 ; on the ethical theory of 
Kant, 98 ff. ; his teaching 




on Moral Philosophy, 98- 
105 ; his theory of indi- 
vidualism, 100-105 ; his in- 
terpretation of religious con- 
sciousness, 105-134 ; on true 
Christianity, 131-132 ; Christi- 
anity, the Absolute Religion, 
134 ; on John Caird, 135 ; on 
Wallace, 166-171. 
Caird, Ed., compared with Brad- 
ley, 247 ; Green, 75-78* 2 47 ; 
Muirhead, 364, 369. 

Critical Philosophy of Kant, 


Evolution of Religion, 105 ff. 

Evolution of Theology in the 

Greek Philosophers, 443. 

Fundamental Ideas of Christi- 

anity, his introduction to, 135. 

Hegel, 439, 44- 

Idealism and the Theory of 

Knowledge, go, 440. 

Mind, Article in, 78. 

Wallace's essays, his edition 

of, 1 80. 

Caird, Edward, Life and Philo- 
sophy of, Smith in, 76 ; 
Muirhead in, 76, 98, 369. 

Caird, John, 135-165 ; presenta- 
tion of the religious aspect of 
neo-Hegelianism, 135-165 ; on 
God and the Absolute, 137- 
165 ; disproof of materialism, 
142-146 ; on the existence of 
God, 147 ff, ; on morality, 
160-163 ; on Christ, 164-165. 

Edward Caird on, 135. 

Fundamental Ideas of Christi- 

anity, 140, 157-164. 

Introduction to the Philosophy 

of Religion, 136-141, 152, 162. 

Carlyle, Sartor Resartus, 484. 

Christ, 126 ff. (Ed. Caird) ; 164- 
165 (John Caird) ; 72-73 
(Green) ; 170-171 (Wallace) ; 
328-329 (Watson). 

Christianity, 123-134 (Ed. Caird) ; 
164-165 (John Caird) ; 468 
(Hegel) ; 212-213 (Ritchie). 

and Brotherhood of Man, 53- 

54> 6 4- 
Christianity, St. Paul's teaching 

of, 128-129. 
Commentary on Hegel's Logic 

(McTaggart), 428. 
Comte, 76. 
Conception of God (Royce), 467 


Conception of Immortality, The 

(Royce), 478, 479. 
Concrete Universal, The (Bosan- 

quet), 280. 
Contemporary British Philosophy, 

Mackenzie, in 382 ; Muirhead 

in, 214. 
Cosmological argument as proof 

of the existence of God, John 

Caird and, 147-148. 
Cousin, 4. 
Critical Philosophy of Kant (Ed. 

Caird), 81-104. 

Darwin and Hegel (Ritchie), 191. 

Darwinism, 188, 189. 

Darwinism and Politics (Ritchie), 

200, 202. 

Democracy, 408-411 (Haldane) ; 

380-381 (Muirhead) ; 203- 

206 (Ritchie) ; 16 (Stirling) ; 

187 (Wallace). 
Descartes, 76, 150, 483. 
Dialectic of Hegel, McTaggart on, 

416 ff. 

Divorce, Green on, 70. 
Dualism, 129-130, 142, 255. 
Duty, Wallace on, 183-184. 

Einstein, Haldane on, 393, 396. 
Elements of Constructive Philo- 
sophy (Mackenzie), 384-389. 
Elements of Ethics (Muirhead), 

369, 375- 

Empiricism, 3 ; Green's fight 
against, 31. 

Intuitionism, and German 

Idealism, 17. 

Encyclopedia (Hegel), 475. 

Encyclopedia Britannica, Muir- 
head on Idealism in, 365-369. 

Epiphenomenalism, 321. 

Equality, Wallace on, 182-183, 

Essays in Philosophical Criticism 
(Haldane and Pringle-Patti- 
son), 391. 

Essays on Truth and Reality 
(Bradley), 242$ 

Ethics, 36-57 (Green) ; 386-390 
(Mackenzie); 432-437 (McTag- 
gart) ; 369-381 (Muirhead) ; 
193-195 (Ritchie). See also 
Moral Philosophy. 

Ethics and politics, Ritchie on, 

193 ff. 

Intuitionism in, Ritchie on, 

Evolution, 199. 



Evolutionism, Idealistic, of Rit- 
chie, 1 88 ff. 

Evolution of Religion (Ed. Caird), 
105 ff. 

Evolution of Theology in the Greek 
Philosophers (Ed. Caird), 443. 

Examination of Hamilton's Philo- 
sophy (Mill), 4. 

Experience, Bradley on, 227 ff. 

Faith (Green), 70. 

Faith that Enquires, A (Jones), 


Fawcett Douglas, his influence on 
Mackenzie, 389-390. 

Ferrier, 166 ; on Hegel, 3-4. 

Fichte, 9, 13. 

Fletcher, C. R. L., An Introduc- 
tory History of England, 204- 

Fortitude, Aristotle's conception 
of, 52. 

Fortnightly Review, Muirhead in, 

Foundations of Belief (Balfour), 

Freedom, Jones on, 333-337. 

Freeman, Dr. A., 204. 

Fundamental Ideas of Christianity, 
(John Caird) 140, 157-164 : 
Ed. Caird's introduction, 135. 

Germany and Origin of European 
War, 210. 

and state Socialism, 207. 
Gifford Lectures, 270 (Bosanquet); 

105 (Ed. Caird) ; 140 (John 
Caird) ; 340 (Jones) ; 467 
(Royce) ; 168 (Wallace). 
Goal of Knowledge (Muirhead), 


God, 469-483 ; 112 ft. (Ed. Caird) ; 
137 ff., 147 ff. (John Caird) ; 
70-74 (Green) ; 411-414 (Hal- 
dane) ; 452-457 (Hegel) ; 311, 
318-329 (Watson). 

and the Absolute. See Abso- 


Modern Idealism and, 133. 
Government. See State, The. 
Greater Logic (Hegel), 475. 
Greece, Religion of, 116-117. 
Green, T. H., 17-74, l8o > 2 47 

248, 391, 480 ; opposition 
to Mill, 17-18 ; his philoso- 
phical theories, 17-74 ; his 
metaphysical theory, 19-36 ; 
his ethical theory, 36-57 ; 

on law and morality, 57 ff. ; 
his political philosophy, 57- 
70 ; on individualism, 62-63, 
67-68 ; on wealth, 68-69 ; on 
family life and marriage, 69- 
70 ; his religious views, 70- 
74 ; on Professor Watson, 
309 ; on Hegel, 470-474. 

compared with, Bosanquet, 

292 ; Bradley, 247 ; Ed. 
Caird, 75-78, 247 ; Hegel, 
1 8 ; Hobhouse, 296 ff. ; Mac- 
kenzie, 390 ; Muirhead, 364, 
369, 377 ; Ritchie, 188, 189 ; 
Wallace, 166, 167. 

Faith, 70. 

Principles of Political Obliga- 

tion, The, 19, 282. 

Prolegomena toEthics t 18-57, 77- 

Witness of God, 70. 

Works, 58-63, 136, 470, 473. 
Greek Philosophers and the Vir- 
tues, 51-54. 

Greek Philosophy, a o (note). 
Greek Political Philosophy, 282. 

Haldane, Miss E. S., on Ritchie, 

Prof. J. S., 392. 

Lord, his philosophical theories, 

391-414 ; on relativity, 303- 
407 ; on Kant, 394-395 ; 
on knowledge, 396-407 ; on 
Hegelianism, 392 ; on reality, 
402-403 ; on idealism and 
realism, 403-405 ; his politi- 
cal and social views, 407-411 ; 
on democracy, 408-411 ; on 
God, 411-414. 

James Hutchison Stirling, His 

Life and Work, 5. 

Mind, Article in, 392. 

Pathway to Reality, 214, 393- 


Philosophy of Humanism, The, 


Reign of Relativity, 206, 393- 


Haldane, Lord, and Pringle-Patti- 
son, Essays in Philosophical 
Criticism, 391. 

Haldar, Article by, 93-98. 

Hamilton, Sir W., 3, 4. 

Hamilton's Philosophy, Examina- 
tion of (Mill), 4. 

Hedonism, 337 (Jones) ; 433-434 
(McTaggart) ; 373-374 (Muir- 
head) ; 184 (Wallace). 



Hegel 3-7, 17, 67, 214-215, 247, 
253. 307. 333, 393 ; influence 
of Greek philosophers on, 
10 (note) ; dialectic method 
of, 250 ; theory of imma- 
nence, 255 ; on the Absolute, 
438-459 ; his categories, 440- 
485 ; his logic, 445~4 8 5 ; 
on God, 452-457. 

and Christianity, 468. 

compared with Bradley, 215; 

Green, 18. 

criticisms of, 76, 77 (Ed. Caird) ; 

135 ff. (John Caird) ; 3-4 
(Ferrier) ; 470-474 (Green) ; 
392 (Haldane) ; 296 ff. (Hob- 
house) ; 4 I 5'437. 459~4 6 8 
(McTaggart) ; 4 (Mill) ; i66ff. 
(Wallace) ; 309-310 (Wat- 

McTaggart's interpretation of, 


Encyclopedia, 475. 

Greater Logic ,*J7 5. 

Logic (trs. Wallace), 166, 445- 


Phenomenology of Mind, 314. 
^Philosophy of Mind, 166. 

Philosophy of Religion, 452- 


Philosophy of Right, 297, 305- 


Hegel (Ed. Caird), 439, 440. 

Hegel , Secret of (Stirling), 5-17. 

Hegelianism and Human Per- 
sonality, 438-485. 

and Pantheism, 440-441. 
Hegelianism and Personality 

(Pringle-Pattison), 193. 
Hegelian Theory of the State, 

296 ff. 
Hibbert Journal, Hicks in, 330 ; 

Mackenzie in, 389, 390. 
Hicks, Prof. G. Dawes, on Jones, 

History of English Philosophy 

(Sorley), 248. 
Hobhouse, Prof. L. T., on Bosan- 

quet, 296 ff., 307-308 ; on 

Germany, 297 ; on Green, 

296 ff. ; on Hegel, 296 ff . ; 

on the idealistic theory of the 

State, 296-308. 
Hobhouse, Metaphysical Theory of 

the State, 296-306. 
Hoffding on Bradley, 214. 
Hume, 19, 31, 32, 76, 311, 404. 

compared with Kant, 31. 

Huxley, 321. 

Idealism, 404 (Berkeley) ; 78 ff. 
(Ed. Caird) ; 404 (Hume) ; 
330-363 (Jones) ; 403-404 
(Locke) ; 365-369 (Muir- 
head) ; 404 (Reid) ; 188 ff. 

and Realism, Haldane on, 403- 


Idealism and the Theory of Know- 
ledge (Ed. Caird), 90, 440. 

Idealism as a Practical Creed 
(Jones), 332. 

Idealism, German, 17. 

Modern, 133. 

Idealistic Evolutionism of Ritchie, 

1 88. 
Idealistic Theory of the State, 

Hobhouse on the, 296-308. 
Immanence, Hegel's Theory of, 


Individualism, 258-281 (Bosan- 
quet) ; 100-105 (Ed. Caird) ; 
62-63, 67-68 (Green); 355-361 
(Jones) ; 375, 379-380 (Muir- 
head) ; 192 ff., 197 f. (Rit- 

and Socialism, Ed. Caird on, 


Interpretation of Religious Ex- 
perience (Watson), 309-321. 

Introduction to the Philosophy of 
Religion (John Caird), 136- 

Introductory History of England, 
An (Fletcher), 204-205. 

Intuitionism, 3 ; 372 (Muirhead) ; 
194-195 (Ritchie). 

Empiricism, and German Ideal- 

ism, 17. 

Jones, Sir Henry, 330-363, 391 ; 
his idealism, 330-363 ; on 
Lotze, 331 ; on freedom, 333- 
337 ; religious theory of, 
33 8 -354 ; on hedonism, 337 ; 
on individualism, 337, 355- 
361 ; Gifford Lectures, 340 ff.; 
on God and the Absolute, 
350-354 ; his political and 
social ideas, 354-363 ; on 
socialism, 357-363. 

Jones, A Faith that Enquires, 340, 


Idealism as a Practical Creed, 


Philosophy of Lotze, 331, 332. 



Jones, Principles of Citizenship, 
357, 361-3^2. 

Prof. G. Dawes Hicks on, 330. 

Working Faith of the Social 

Reformer, 356-359. 
Judaism, 120-123. 

Kant and Kantian Philosophy, 
9, 31, 48, 144, 147, 150, 247, 
309, 3". 374. 47M78. 

Haldane on, 394-395- 

Edward Caird and, 76-89, 

98 flf. 
Kant and His English Critics 

(Watson), 309. 
Kant, The Principles of the Pure 

Understanding. 83 ff. 
Kepler, 469. 
Knowledge, 396-407 (Haldane) ; 

364-365 (Mini-head). 

Human, and Logic, 469 ff. 

Latta, Prof., on D. G. Ritchie, 

188, 189. 
Lectures and Essays on Natural 

Theology and Ethics (Wallace), 

Leibnitz, 442 (note), 444, 447 

Leighton, Prof. J. A., on Bosan- 

quet, 257. 

Lewes, G. H., 19, 31, 76, 416. 
Life and Philosophy of Edward 

Caird, The (Muirhead), 76, 98, 


Locke, 19, 20, 31, 76, 313, 403-404. 
Logic and Human Knowledge, 

469 ff. 

Logic (Hegel), 166, 445-451. 
Logic of Hegel, 445-485- 
Lotze, 96. 

Jones's criticism of, 331. 

Mackenzie, Prof. J. S., 382-390; 

his metaphysics, 383-390 ; 

ethical views, 386-390 ; 

Fawcett's influence on, 389- 

Mackenzie, Contemporary British 

Philosophy, 382. 

Elements of Constructive Philo- 

sophy, 384-389- 

Hibbevt Journal, Article in, 

389, 390. 

Manual of Ethics, 390. 

Outlines of Metaphysics, 387. 

and Green, 390. 

on Edward Caird, 751 

McTaggart, Dr. J. S., his inter- 
pretation of Hegel, 415-437, 
459-468; on the Absolute, 416- 
432, 458, 468 ; on the dialectic 
of Hegel, 416 ff. ; his ethical 
views, 432-437; on hedon- 
ism, 433-434- 

A Commentary on Hegel's Logic, 


Nature of Existence, 415, 416, 

463 (note). 

Philosophy of History, 416. 

Studies in Hegelian Cosmology, 

427-445, 460, 468. 

Studies in Hegelian Dialectic, 

416-428, 449. 
Mansel, Metaphysics, 4-5. 
Manual of Ethics (Mackenzie), 

Manual of Psychology (Stout), 

Materialism, The error of, 90. 

John Caird's disproof of, 142- 


Matter and Mind, 142 ff. 

Mechanism and Naturalism, Wat- 
son on, 320-321. 

and Teleology, Bosan^uet op, 


Memory, Limits of, 222-223. 
Metaphysics, 257 (Bosanquet) ; 

19-36 (Green) ; 383-390 

(Mackenzie ; 189 ff. (Ritchie). 
Metaphysics (Mansel), 4-5. 
Metaphysical Theory of the State 

(Hobhouse), 296-306. 
Mill, 3, 4, 17-18, 31, 311 ; his 

political theories, 284. 

Examination of Hamilton's 

Philosophy, 4. 
Mind, Ed. Caird in, 78 ; Haldane 

in, 392 ; Mackenzie in, 75. 
Mind and Matter, 142 ff. 
Monads of Leibnitz, 442 (note), 

447 (note). 
Moral Philosophy, Edward Caird's 

Teaching on, 98-105. 

Stirling and, 15-16. 
Morality and Religion, 241 ff. 

(Bradley); 102 ff. (Ed. Caird); 
160-163 (John Caird) ; 344 ff. 
(Jones) ; 194 ff. (Ritchie) ; 
168-187 (Wallace). 
Muirhead, Prof., on Green and 
Caird, 76 ; on Wallace, 166- 
168 ; his philosophy, 364- 
381 ; on knowledge, 364- 
365 ; article on Idealism 



in Encyclopedia Britannica, 
365-369 ; his ethical theory, 
369-381 ; on hedonism, 373- 
374 ; on individualism, 375, 
379-380 ; his social theory, 
378-381 ; on democracy, 380- 

Contemporary British Philo- 

sophy, 214. 

Elements of Ethics, 369, 375. 

Goal of Knowledge, 364. 

Life and Philosophy of Edward 

Caird, 76, 98, 369. 

Philosophy and Life, 364-369. 

Social Purpose, 379, 381. 
Muller, Max, on the infinite, in. 

Nature, Bosanquet on, 268-269. 
Nature of Existence (McTaggart), 

415, 416, 463 (note). 
Naturalism, Watson on, 320-327. 
Natural Rights, 195 ff. (Ritchie) ; 

1 80 ff. (Wallace). 
Natural Rights \ Ritchie) ,195. 
Natural Selection, 199. 
Natural Theology, Wallace on, 

Nettle^hip, his opinion of Green, 

18, 57- 

Ontological Argument as proof of 
the existence of God, 150 ff. 

Origin and Significance of Hegel's 
Logic (Baillie), 476. 

Outline of Philosophy, An (Wat- 
son), 309. 

Outlines of Metaphysics (Mac- 
kenzie), 387. 

Pantheism and Hegelianism, 440- 

44 1; 

Parmenides, 12. 

Parmenides (Plato), 10 (note), 95. 

Pascal, 206. 

Pathway to Reality (Haldane), 
214. 393-412. 

Pattison. See Pringle-Pattison. 

Paul, St., his teaching of Christi- 
anity, 128-129. 

Peace, Ritchie on, 210-211. 

Personality, Hegelianism and 
human, 438-485. 

Phenomenalism, Bradley on, 225- 

Phenomenology of Mind (Hegel), 


Philosophical Basis of Religion 
(Watson), 309. 

Philosophical Review, Haldar in, 
93-98 ; Leighton in, 257 ; 
Watson in, 75. 

Philosophical Studies (Ritchie), 
189-198, 209, 212. 

Philosophical Theory of the State 
(Bosanquet), 281-298. 

Philosophy and Life (Muirhead), 

Philosophy of Humanism, The 
(Haldane), 402-407. 

Philosophy of Kant Explained 
(Watson), 309. 

Philosophy of Lotze (Jones), 331, 

Philosophy of Mind (Hegel), 166. 

Philosophy of Religion (Hegel), 

Philosophy of Right (Hegel), 297, 

Plato, 9, 10 (note), 377. 

Plato, Parmenides, 10 (note), 95. 

Political Philosophy, 284, 285 
(Bentham) ; 281-295 (Bosan- 
quet) ; 57-70 (Green) ; 407- 
411 (Haldane) ; 354-363 
(Jones) ; 284 (Mill) ; 209-212 
(Ritchie) ; 285, 289 (Spen- 
cer) ; 1 6 (Stirling). 

of Rousseau, Bosanquet and, 

Politics and Ethics, Ritchie on, 

193 . 
Primary and Secondary Qualities, 

Bradley and, 217 ff. 
Principle of Individuality and 

Value (Bosanquet), 257-280. 
Principles of Citizenship (Jones), 

357. 361-362. 
Principles of Political Obligation, 

The (Green), 19, 282. 
Principles of the Pure Understand- 
ing, The (Kant), 83 ff. 
Pringle-Pattison, Prof., 392. 
Pringle-Pattison, Hegelianism and 

Personality, 193. 

Two Lectures on Theism, 482, 


and Haldane, Essays in Philo- 

sophical Criticism, 391. 
Prolegomena to Ethics (Green), 
18-57* 77- 

Qualities, Primary and secondary, 
Bradley and, 217 ff. 

Realism and Idealism, Haldane 
on, 403-405. 

49 2 


Reality, 443 ; 242 (Bradley) ; 

402-404 fHaldane). 
Reid, Realism of, 404. 
Reign of Relativity (Haldane), 206, 

Relativity, 472-473. 

Haldane on, 395-407. 
Relativity, Reign of (Haldane), 

206, 393-412. 

Religion, 241 ff. (Bradley) ; 105- 
134 (Ed. Caird) ; 135-165 
(JohnCaird); 336-354 (Jones); 
212-213 (Ritchie) ; 168-187 
(Wallace) ; 328-329 (Watson). 

of Greece, Ed. Caird on, 116-117. 
Ritchie, D. G., 188-213, 391 ; 

his idealistic evolutionism, 
1 88 ff. ; his metaphysics, 
1 88 ff. ; on politics and ethics, 
193 ff. ; on the State, 196- 
206 ; on evolution, 199 ; on 
socialism and democracy, 
200-206 ; on world politics, 
209-212 ; on religion, 212- 

compared with Green, 188, 


Darwin and Hegel, 191. 

Darwinism and Politics, 200, 


Natural Rights, 195. 

Philosophical Studies, 189, 212. 

Studies in Political and Social 

Ethics, 203, 211. 

Roman Conquest, Effects of, 54.. 
Rousseau, Bosanquet on, 285-287: 
Royce, 94. *- - * . ' 

Conception of 'God, 467jjilotfi) . 

Conception of Immortality, 478, 

479 * *";.*. -'** 

The World and tkk individual, 


Sartor Resartus (Garlyle), 484. 
Schelling, 4, 9, 14, 172, 481. 
Science and Religion, Wallace on, 

Scotland, Ed. Caird's influence in, 


Secret of Hegel (Stirling), 5-17. 
Selection, Natural, 199. 
Self, Bradley and, 222 ff. ; 251- 


Sidgwick, 34. 
Smith, Prof. J. A., on Ed. Caird, 


Life and Philosophy of Ed. 

Caird, 76, 
Social Life, 291 ff. (Bosanquet) ; 

407-411 (Haldane) ; 354-3^3 
(Jones) ; 200 ff. (Ritchie) ; 
186 (Wallace). 

Social Service, Jones on, 357. 

Social Purpose (Muirhead), 379, 


Socialism, 357-363 (Jones) ; 200 ff. 
(Ritchie) ; 186 (Wallace). 

and Individualism, Ed. Caird 

on, 104. 

State, in Germany, 207. 
Socrates, 9, 51. 

Sorley, Prof., 391. 

History of English Philosophy, 

Spencer, Herbert, 19, 31, 76, in, 


Political ideas of, 284, 285, 289. 
Spinoza, 76, 94, 367, 466, 483. 
State, The, 282 ff. (Bosanquet) ; 

105 (Ed. Caird) ; 58 ff. 
(Green) ; 407-411 (Haldane) ; 
296 ff. (Hegel); 296-308 (Hob- 
house); 355-363'( Jones); 196 ff. 
(Ritchie) ; 181-182, 186-187 

Stirling, James Hutchison, 3-16 ; 
his moral philosophy, '5-16 i 
on democracy, 16 ; his politi- 
cal creed, 16. 

Secret of Hegel, 5-17. 
Stirling, James Hutchison, His 

Life and Work (Haldane), 5. 
Stoicism, 64, 120, 374. 
Stout, Manual of Psychology, 466. 
Studies in Hegelian Cosmology 

(McTaggart), 427-468. 
Studies in Hegelian Dialectic 

(McTaggart), 416-428, 449. 
Studies in Political and Social 

Ethics (Ritchie), 203, 211. 
Subjective Religion, 119. 
Suffrage, Ritchie's views on, 208- 


Teleological argument as proof of 
the existence of God, John 
Caird and, 148. 

Teleology and mechanism, Bosan- 
quet on, 261. 

Temperance, Aristotle on, 52. 

Time and the Absolute, 478-179. 

Transcendentalism, 255. 

Two Lectures on Theism (Pringle 
Pattison), 482, 485. 

Value and Destiny of the Indi- 
vidual (Bosanquet), 257-278. 



Virtue, Aristotelean, Greek, and 
modern conceptions of, 51-54. 

Wallace, William, his exposition 
of Hegel, 166-187 ; hisGifford 
Lectures, 168 ; on religion 
and morality, 168-187 ; on 
natural theology, 169-171 ; 
on social co-operation, 176, 
1 80 flf. ; on the State, 181- 
182, 186-187; on duty, 183- 
184 ; his criticism of hedon- 
ism, 184 ; on socialism, 186 ; 
on democracy, 187 ; on He- 
gelian Philosophy, 415, 438; 


compared with Green, 166, 167. 

his eulogy of Green, 166. 
Wallace, Lectures and Essays on 

Natural Theology and Ethics, 

Translation of Hegel's Logic, 

1 66, 445-451- 

Translation* of Hegel's Philo- 

sophy of Mind, 1 66. 
War, 64-65 (Green) ; 209-212 

i Eufopean, Origin of, 210. 

Watson, Prof. John, on Ed. Caird, 
75, 76 ; his philosophical 
theory, 309-329 ; on Hegel, 
309-310; on God, 311, 318- 
321, 323-329 ; on naturalism, 
320-327 ; on the Absolute, 
324-329 ; on religion, 328- 


Interpretation of Religious Ex- 

perience, 309-321. 

Kant and his English Critics, 


Outline of Philosophy, An, 309. 

Philosophical Basis of Religion, 


Philosophy of Kant Explained, 


Wealth, Green on, 68-69. 

What Religion Is (Bosanquet), 

Wilson, President, 210. 

Witness of God (Green), 70. 

Working Faith of the Social Re- 
former (Jones), 356-359. 

World and the Individual, The 
(Royce), 478. 

World Politics, Ritchie on, 209-